Ez 34:11-12, 15-17; 1Cor 15:20-26,28; Matt 25: 31-46
Today we proclaim Christ as King of the Universe. Viva Cristo Rey! This recalls the crowds waving palms on Palm Sunday. Christ is a king who comes to save all. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. St. Andrew of Crete says: “Let us wave before him like palm branches the words inscribed above him on the cross.” Let us honor him … with the splendor of merciful deeds to one another.”
Christ comes to reveal the face of God to men and women. He makes God visible. Christ, the eternal King, wants to draw persons to join him in his mission of making God visible: to right wrong, eradicate evil, heal illness. He asks us to join him in his cause of mercy. How could anyone refuse? He heals the sick and gives sight to the blind. Christ strengthens for this mission with his body and blood. Thereby strengthened to be like him, we go out from here, following and serving this King, by doing acts of mercy in the world.
Cardinal Walter Kasper describes mercy beautifully in this way: “God bends down in order to raise us up; to comfort us and to heal our wounds…to bestow on us new life and new hope…. Mercy is the name of our God. Mercy is the call to be a human being, who feels with other human beings who suffer and are in need. Mercy is the call to be a real Christian, who follows the example of Christ and meets Christ in his suffering brothers and sisters. Mercy is the essence of the Gospel and the key to Christian life. Mercy is the best and most beautiful news that can be told to us…. As God by his mercy always gives us a new chance, a new future, our mercy gives future to the other, and to a world that needs it so much” (Cardinal Walter Kasper. America. “The Message of Mercy” September 15, 2014. p.18. All we must do is “Do it.” How can we refuse?!
The book, A Slender Thread, presents the situation of A native New Yorker woman who encountered a hungry boy begging for money. He said, “I’m hungry.” The woman had never seen a child beg. She took him to McDonald’s for lunch and a great friendship began. What if she had rushed past him? This delights Christ’s heart, I am sure.
Christ is King of our hearts, of our desires. We have entered the holiday season, but we must keep before us, most importantly, the season of Advent that begins next Sunday. On Friday I was in the Nicholasville Road traffic – bumper to bumper. I was reminded of the words of the poet William Wordsworth; he says in “The World is Too Much with Us”: “Late and soon, getting and spending, we have given our hearts away.” We resolve to keep, fixed in our hearts, that not material goods but the person of Christ, born again in us each time we receive the Eucharist, is the center of our lives and the origin of all that is good in us. We enact this in the world in doing deeds like his, in deeds of mercy for the coming his reign on earth. Amen? Viva Cristo Rey!