This Sunday is the last Sunday of the liturgical year as we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. Before parents leave the house they usually give parting instructions to their children: “Don’t fight. Don’t turn on the stove. Don’t let a stranger in, etc.” In a way, that’s what this Sundays readings are, important reminders for us as we close this liturgical year. The theme of the kingship of Christ should not be misunderstood. Jesus is not king in an earthly sense of the word. The acclamations of the crowds that took place and the enthusiastic endorsement of the disciples that Jesus is the Messiah might mislead us. Jesus is king; Jesus is Messiah, because he is the anointed one of God, who comes to do the will of God.The gospel parable of the last judgment picks up on the king and shepherd themes. At the end time Jesus, the Shepherd King, will return and surrounded by his retinue of angels, will judge the nations. He will share his glory with those he finds worthy. Will he find us to be worthy of his call to be with him forever?
If we are serious about our Christianity, if we are committed to the Kingdom of God, then we will be living lives of sacrificial love, the love of Jesus Christ. To take Christ as our Shepherd involves becoming a shepherd to others making Christ present to them by reaching out showing the faith and leading them along the path of faith if they aren’t already there. The kingdom of Christ, a reign of charity and peace, is for all of us where ever we are. We remember that the Kingdom of God exists in every home where parents and children love each other. It exists in every region and country that cares for its weak and vulnerable people. It exists in every parish that reaches out to the needy with a helping hand. This very moment in our history and our lives presents us with a challenge and a choice. We can hear the Lord’s call in the presence of other’s needs. Or, we can turn away. Still there is hope in the grace God offers. Our past selfish ways can be overcome. Now is the time for conversion of heart and mind as we look to the season of Advent. Now is the time to give ourselves to the work God and his kingdom where all are valued and no one is left behind.
May all of us take up the challenge that the feast of Christ the King gives us. That challenge is to reach out to others showing them that the ways of Jesus are what we as Christians are really all about instead of being selfish and self-centred people which all of us can be at times.