November 26, 2017

Christ the King

November 26, 2017:  Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

See 10 connections with today?Legend below
For Psalm 23
For upcoming celebrations
Christ’s kingship is one of guidance and service but also at the end of time will be asserted in judgment.  Today's gospel's vision of his second coming introduces the final judgment, when humanity will appear before him, and he'll separate one from another, as a shepherd separates sheep from goats.  He gives his judgment criterion:  “What you did for the least, you did on to me.”  This reveals the end to which God is willing to go on our account:  he identifies himself with us, not when we're happy and healthy, but when we're in need.  His decisive judgment criterion is concrete love for our neighbor in difficulty.  Likewise, the accursed are judged for failing to aid those in need.  We'll be judged on love, on our concrete commitment to love and serve Jesus in the smallest and most needy.
Jesus will come at the end of time to judge, but he also comes to us every day, in many ways, and asks us to welcome him.  May the Virgin Mary help us encounter him and receive him in his Word, the Eucharist, and in the hungry, sick, oppressed, and victims of injustice.  May we welcome him today and so be welcomed into his eternal Kingdom of light and peace.
  • Ez 34:11-12, 15-17  I'll look after my sheep.  I'll rescue them when they scatter, seek the lost, bring back the strays, bind up the injured, heal the sick, and give them rest, but I'll destroy the sleek and strong.  I'll judge between one sheep and another.
  • Ps 23:1-6  "The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want."  He gives me repose, refreshment, direction, nourishment, abundance, goodness, and kindness...
  • 1 Cor 15:20-26, 28  Christ has been raised.  Since death came through a man, resurrection also came also through a man.  As in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life.  Christ must reign until he subdues all his enemies; the last to be destroyed is death.
  • Mt 25:31-46  "When the Son of Man comes, he'll sit on his throne and separate people as shepherds separate sheep from goats.  He'll say to the sheep, 'Come inherit the kingdom; you fed me, gave me drink, welcomed me, clothed me, cared for me, and visited me in my need.’ / 'When?’ / 'Whatever you did for the least, you did for me.’  Then he'll say to the others, 'Depart into the fire; you didn't feed me, give me drink, welcome me, clothe me, or care for me when I needed you.’ / 'When?’ / 'What you didn't do for the least, you didn't for me.’  They'll go to eternal punishment; the righteous to eternal life."
"Last judgment" gallery

Last judgment/ Michelangelo
Last judgment/ Vasnetov
Last judgment/ Memling

Last judgment/ Martin
  • CreightonMost images in today's readings are of a shepherd, not a powerful, oppressive, violent ruler.  Imagine a shepherd king tenderly caring for his flock. "I myself will tend my sheep as a shepherd his flock." "The Lord is my shepherd; I'll want for nothing."
Jesus taught us the way of discipleship while giving us a glimpse of God's Kingdom:  When I was thirsty, you gave me a drink; hungry, food; imprisoned, you set me free; naked, you clothed me.  What you did for the least, you did for me.  Blessed are you; yours is the Kingdom of heaven!  Christ our King gave us a new law of love and showed us how to live it in right relationship with God, self, others, and the universe. He is the King who gave his life that we may have life; in Christ shall all be brought to life.
Teilhard de Chardin, SJ said cosmic energy is Love, Christ, who draws us to the Omega Point to which all creation is returning, and into the fullness and knowledge of God's Kingdom.  Come, you blessed; inherit the kingdom prepared for you.  Teilhard's Hymn of the Universe is an invitation to celebrate our union with Christ:  “Lord, I see and love all you've given me.  I number all who make up the other family which has surrounded me, its unity fashioned out of disparate elements, with affinities of the heart.  I call before me all humanity.  Receive, Lord, this all-embracing host which creation offers you.  Lord Jesus, all things are moving toward you, the unity of the new earth.”  May our Shepherd King surround us, and enfold us in love, where we'll meet him face to face.
    Christ the King icon
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Come, King, Judge, Love, God!"  Ezekiel prophesied: "As for you, my sheep, I will judge between one sheep and another, between rams and goats."  Jesus announced it would be fulfilled when he comes again as King and judge to say "Come, you blessed; inherit the kingdom prepared for you!," or "Out of my sight, you condemned!" His judgment will be based on God's grace, mercy, and love, what we've done for the least, our repentance, our faith, our love, our doing his Father's will, and whether we've given our lives to be his disciples.  Jesus will return to love and judge us, we don't know when.  Are you looking forward to his return?
  • Passionist:  Monarchs are not all that familiar to us in the US.  Last week Queen Elizabeth II celebrated 70 years of marriage to Prince Phillip.  The longest serving monarch died last year.  The King of Thailand began his reign in 1950.  We don't rally around a king and vow allegiance, but we need to hear and heed the call to join together to do something wonderful.  An authentic king inspires us to see what's possible in our lives and our world, inviting us on a mission.  Jesus journey.  We find our mission in today's gospel.  Jesus says, come work with me towards a world of peace, compassion, and justice.
  •  "Come inherit the kingdom prepared for you":  "There are two kinds of people, because there are two kinds of love:  holy and selfish; one is subject to God, the other tries to equal him" (St. Augustine).  Jesus came to transform the law through his love and mercy.  Do I allow God's love to purify and transform me to think, act, and love others? / In dry lands like Palestine, goats and sheep grazed together during the day because pasture was sparse, so shepherds separated them at night.  Goats came to symbolize evil ('scape-goat' came to mean someone bearing blame for others). Jesus took our guilt and sins upon himself and set us free; we can choose to follow him or to be our own master.  After Martin of Tours took pity on a naked beggar, giving him half his cloak, he dreamed he saw Jesus robed in that torn cloak, an angel asking why he was wearing it, and Jesus replying, "My servant Martin gave it to me."  Then Martin flew to be baptized.  "Christ is above and below:  above in Himself, below in people.  Fear Christ above, and recognize him below.  Here he's poor, with and in the poor; there he's rich, with and in God.  Have Christ above bestowing his bounty; recognize him here in his need" (Augustine, Sermon 123, 44).  Jesus will ask, "whom did you love?"
Wait!  More 'last judgment' art
Last judgment/ Lochner
Last judgment/ Ostateczny
Last judgment/ Povolzhie
Last judgment (Blake archive)
Sunday-trumped saints, from Universalis
Dress legend
  • 'Crowns' tie:  Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (today's solemnity)
  • 'Hand':  Christ will hand over the kingdom to his Father (2nd reading)
  • 'Precious feet' pin:  Christ must reign till he's put all his enemies under his feet (2nd reading)
  • 'Angel with trumpet' pin:  When the Son of Man comes in glory and all the angels with him; trumpet for judgment day (gospel)
  • 'Fire' pin:  "Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire" (gospel)
  • Green tie pin:  Verdant pastures (psalm); Ordinary Time season
  • 'Clocks' suspenders:  Countdown to end of Ordinary Time season and Christ's 2nd coming
  • White shirt:  Color of the day

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