Homily November 23, 2014 – Last Sunday of Church Year – Feast of Christ the King
The feast of Christ the King actually came about in 1925 by the proclamation of Pius XI. Pius became Pope after the tumultuous years of the late 1800’s and of course the 1900’s and World War one. For centuries, the church had been identified as an earthly power and the Pope as a ruler of a country. There was a concept that Christ was the emperor of the world. With the fall of the Papal States, the subsequent Popes were just Bishops living in the Vatican under secular rule. Pius set out to change that and eventually established the Vatican as an independent country under the Lateran treaty in 1929. His feast of Christ the King has continued on with the perception of Christ being first above all humankind. Pius was a man of his times and was addressing the times he lived in as best he could. Remember he was faced with communism, fascism and the rise of Hitler in the aftermath of the first world war, and of course Japan in the far East. . It was a treacherous time
All that aside, the politics of that time and even our own time are no more relevant to Jesus’ kingdom than were the politics of his time on earth. As he told Pilate, his kingdom was of another world. Our gospel today has Jesus coming from that world summoning us to his world. This final parable in Matthew clearly sums up who are ready for the kingdom. Truly there are no surprises here. As he come, he separates the sheep from the goats, the good from the bad. What makes the difference? It is the love and care for others that set his sheep apart from the goats. Feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, Clothing those who needed it, welcoming strangers and generally looking out for those who need our care. These are responsible things that all of us are bound to do. Human politics and institutions are subject to caring for all who are their subject. The most vulnerable most be the first concern. How people are governed is less important than that they have their fundamental needs and taken care of and that they have hope of a life and family together.
Really? How often have we heard this? Do we do believe and do it or just give lip service? The least of all are all around us, not just in far off places. I dare say we pass someone in need everyday, yet we don’t realize or are not open to seeing the need. What you did to the least of my brothers, you did to me is probably one of Jesus’ scariest sayings as we can sometimes be so unaware of who is around us and be blind to those who are hurting in body or soul. Yet what we need to do is to live and reach out to all we meet like we like to be met. Be aware, be open, be loving, be ready to most of all listen. Only then will we hear Christ’s call..