My Dear Parishioners:
Paul speaks of Jesus Christ at the end of time handing over the Kingdom to God the Father. Today’s preface repeats this, describing Christ’s kingdom as one of truth and life, of holiness and grace, of justice, love and peace. This ideal is not to be merely a future hope but is to be worked for in the present. The Kingdom is our hope, but somehow it is also in our midst, in the process of becoming. The Gospel tells us how we are to promote the fuller coming of God’s Kingdom among us. It comes whenever justice is done for the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, and the oppressed. To behave in this way is to imitate the Shepherd-King himself who is presented in our Gospels as one who rescues from situations of alienation, who feeds, gives rest, heals and makes strong. Among his final words was a promise to the thief being crucified at his side, that he would be enfolded by the eternal love of God, in paradise.
The way to serve Christ our King is to work for the coming of his kingdom. In working for the relief of the deprived, the oppressed, and the outcast we are serving Christ in person, because he fully identifies himself with all those in need, right up to his final moment in this life. The disciple of Christ the King cannot afford the luxury of comfortably “Keeping myself to myself,” or “Well anyway, I do nobody any harm.” To be deaf to the cries of the neighbor in need is to be deaf to Christ. To be blind to the anguish of the dying is to be blind to Christ. To take Jesus Christ as our Shepherd-king involves becoming shepherds in some way ourselves; for the work goes on.
Blessings, Fr. John