Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Feast of Christ the King--What Kind of King is He?

   On this coming Sunday we Catholics, along with many other Christians, will observe the Feast of Christ the King. This Feast was established only recently (1925) by Pope Pius XI.  It was established for a reason that is still valid today--the rise of nationalism and secularism which led governments to be guided more by their own self interests and the quest for power than by the values of faith. The following link to a Wikipedia article on the feast gives are fine summary of its history:  Feast of Christ the King
   The Scripture texts for Mass this week tell us what kind of King Jesus was and is and challenges us, His followers, in several ways.

   The First Reading from Ezekiel (Ez 34:11-12, 15-17) tells us that He is a shepherd king who seeks the lost sheep to bring them back and heal them. It also tells us that He will "judge between one sheep and another."

   The Gospel text, from Matthew 25 tell us how He will judge us, namely on how well we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and the imprisoned.  It doesn't say anything there about being judged on how well we observe the minutiae of canon law or liturgical rubrics or having the correct theology.  Now I'm not saying that these things should be ignored or that they don't have their rightful place, but Jesus here and in several other places makes it clear that love of others, concern for the poor, mercy and forgiveness are what's really important for Him.

  Jesus is a King who reigns not by domination and control but by lifting up the lowly and inviting His followers to do the same.

  Does all of this sound a bit like Pope Francis?  Someone recently said that Pope Francis is not a liberal but rather a radical.  I agree.  He is a radical follower of the Gospel and invites us to be as well. Are we ready to follow?


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