Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Word on the Word

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ The King

The Church year ends this Sunday with a vision of the end of time.
The Son of Man is enthroned over all nations and peoples of every language. The nations have been gathered to see His glory and receive His judgment. The King is the divine shepherd Ezekiel foresees in today’s first reading, judging as a shepherd separates sheep from goats.

Each of us will be judged upon our performance of the simple works of mercy we hear in the Gospel today.

These works, as Jesus explains today, are reflections or measures of our love for Him, our faithfulness to His commandment that we love God with all our might and our neighbor as ourselves.

‘Whatever you did . . . you did for me’

Many saints and Church leaders have seen a connection between Christ’s words in the Gospel for the Solemnity of Christ the King and His promise to be present in the Eucharist.

For example, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to say of her work with the poor: “In Holy Communion we have Christ under the appearance of bread. In our work we find Him under the appearance of flesh and blood. It is the same Christ. ‘I was hungry, I was naked, I was sick, I was homeless.’”

And St. John Chrysostom, said the same thing in the fourth century: “Do you wish to honor the body of Christ? Do not ignore Him when He is naked. Do not pay Him homage in the temple clad in silk only then to neglect Him outside where He suffers cold and nakedness. He who said: ‘This is my body’ is the same One who said: ‘You saw me hungry and you gave me no food’, and ‘Whatever you did to the least of my brothers you did also to me’ . . . What good is it if the Eucharistic table is overloaded with golden chalices, when He is dying of hunger? Start by satisfying His hunger, and then with what is left you may adorn the altar as well.”