Solemnity of Christ the King – Year A


Bernard C. Scianna, O.S.A.
Villanova University
Villanova, Pennsylvania

Ez 34:11-12, 15-17
Ps 23:1-2, 2-3, 5-6
1 Cor 15:20-26, 28
Mt 25:31-46

All Hail to Christ Our King! All Hail to Christ Our King!

Our Lord Jesus was heralded as the Newborn King in the Incarnation, in the line of the Great King David, and was adored by Magi from the East. He was also feared as a threat by King Herod, who tried to have Him killed. When He was preaching, He spoke of a Kingdom that was at hand and in our midst if we dare follow His ways. In the Our Father that He taught to His disciples, He speaks of a Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven! At His trial before His Crucifixion, He says that His Kingdom is not of this world, but of the Kingdom of Heaven. And today, on this Feast, we claim Jesus Christ as Our King and King of the Universe!

But is Jesus like other Kings that we have heard about in history or even see today in some parts of the world? No, not really. He is not a controlling and domineering political figure, nor even a benevolent dictator. Our King is a Shepherd and a Servant Leader. How can this be? Is He really a King if He tells us that He has come not to be served but to serve? If He washes the feet of His disciples, the role of a servant? If He cares for us like a Good Shepherd cares for His sheep, and He is willing to leave the 99 to find the one who has gone astray? Does this sound like a high and mighty King – a judge who sits on His royal throne that we need to fear? No, it doesn’t, and Thanks Be to God that Our King is a Good Shepherd and a Servant Leader!

Our Gospel puts it quite simply: We will be judged by how we treat others, by how much we care for the least of our brothers and sisters, by how closely we follow the example of Jesus our Good Shepherd and Servant Leader! This is Christ Our King!

And how is Christ to be the King of our lives? Instead of attempting to control others, we might do better serving them and praying for them like the Good Shepherd! We might wash the feet of others – a sign of welcome and hospitality. We might heal the sick, bind up their injuries, and welcome back those who have gone astray. We might feed the hungry, clothe the poor, care for the sick, visit the prisoner, welcome the stranger, and give water to those who thirst, not only for clean water, but for justice.

The lesson here is that we should never let the world convince us that small acts of sacrifice, service and kindness aren’t of importance. Indeed, they are! And Jesus Christ Our King reminds us: As often as you do these things for the least little ones, so you do it for Me! In doing these small and seemingly insignificant acts, we help build the Kingdom of God on Earth! A Kingdom that our preface for today’s Mass describes as: “An Eternal and Universal Kingdom, a Kingdom of Truth and Life, a Kingdom of Holiness and Grace, a Kingdom of Justice, Love and Peace!” We pray for the coming of such a kingdom as Jesus taught us in the Our Father: Thy Kingdom Come! And it will only come if we commit to building it here and now!

So today, let us remember Christ Our King Who is the Good Shepherd and our Servant Leader. Let us remember that the Last Judgment is one where we will be judged by how well we chose to Live the Golden Rule: Do Unto Others, as You would have Done Unto You! This is the message of Christ Our King: The Lord of History Who has won the final victory over sin and death by redeeming the world and subjecting it to His Father so that God may be All in All! Let’s let Him be the Lord of our Lives, the King of our Hearts, Thoughts and Deeds! Amen!