Each year at this time of the year we celebrate the magnificent feast of Jesus Christ the King. It comes always in the autumn of the year, in the season of the harvest, the season of giving thanks to God for His many blessings. This year, the year of St. Matthew our gospel for this feast is from Matthew’s account and typically it deals with the Lord’s kingdom and how we have played our part in building up that kingdom.
As I mentioned in last Sunday’s column the gospel for this Sunday of Christ the King would be a kind of judgment. Matthew begins by saying that when the Lord comes in all His glory…that phrase itself is enough to stop us in our tracks and makes us picture Jesus crowned with His glory, seeing him this way for a very first time.
During Jesus life on earth and especially during the years of his public ministry, Jesus wore no crown. He was always the minister of service to others seeking to fulfill their needs, ease their pains, bring them comfort and bestow on them the richness of his gifts of grace. It was in this manner that he also taught his followers that they should do the same. The one word that would speak the loudest and most convincing about the Lord Jesus is SERVICE.
Turning back to the words of the gospel Matthew presents Jesus as the judge and asking those who would seek admission into his kingdom; ‘what have you done to serve your brothers and sisters, whether they be friends or strangers, and give them comfort, whatever way that comfort may be called for. All of us have met the hungry, really hungry and needing a meal. All of us have encountered the homeless in one way or another and maybe they were out in the cold and more that than, feeling rejected because no one cared to help them.
Perhaps in the lives of all of us we have had at least one experience when we met someone in a truly emergency kind of situation and they came to us for some help to deal with that emergency. Perhaps, too, it would have demanded of us a true sacrifice, perhaps giving some of our precious time, our money, giving a person some transportation, housing, clothing, medical assistance. And how did we respond?
Have you thought that if your answer to any of these situations is ‘no, I didn’t help that person’ there’s still time. Maybe today the Lord is presenting you with the grace to reach out to those in need: to serve them as Jesus did and taught us to do.
When we stand at the gates of paradise waiting for the call ‘come in good and faithful servant’ then we will be able to look into the eyes of the Lord and Savior, our King of kings and say with overwhelming joy, ‘Yes, Lord I helped, I served the needs of others.’ Then, when we take our first heavenly steps we will know that true meaning of the words of Jesus. “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least of my brothers, you did for me.” Then we will know what it means to have earned a place in the Kingdom.