Reflection on Christ the King: 22nd November 2020

Christ, King of the Universe

This Sunday is the last Sunday in the liturgical year, 2020, a year that we will never forget, a year when life as we once knew it has been abruptly shattered. It has been a year when we have had no alternative but to acknowledge our inter-connectedness, our oneness with all creation and with the vastness of the universe.

‘The universe is not a place where evolution happens; it is evolution happening. It is not a stage on which dramas unfold; it is the unfolding drama itself. This great cosmological story shows us in the deepest possible sense that we are all sisters and brothers—fashioned from the same stellar dust, energised by the same star, nourished by the same planet, endowed with the same genetic code, and threatened by the same evils. This story humbles us before the magnitude and complexity of creation. It astonishes us with the interdependence of all things, and makes us feel grateful for the lives we have. And not the least of all, it inspires us to express our gratitude to the past by accepting a solemn and collective responsibility for the future.’1 ‘When we stress the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science we might be able to draw forth untapped reserves of reverence and awe.’2

1: Loyal Rue (Philosopher), 2: Carl Sagan (Astrophysicist)

It is in Christ, King of the Universe, that ‘all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. In him all things hold together.’ (Col:1,16) ‘When we experience the universe as Christ-soaked, when we know that the universe is both the hiding place and the revelation of God, when we grow in awareness that in Christ all things were made, our lives will reflect our oneness with every thing.’3 We will then respond to Christ in the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger and those who are naked. And we will have confidence in the One who ‘spares us from nothing, but unexplainably sustains us in all things.’4

3: Richard Rohr. Adapted, 4: James Finley

Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46

Jesus said to them, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’

Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’

Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”