November 23rd, 2014 – Christ the King Sunday – Year A

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On this last Sunday of the liturgical year, we acclaim Christ as “King of the Universe” (Collect), but today’s readings especially could well make this day “Christ the Judge.”

The Gospel passage makes this point forcefully: Just as ancient shepherds separated sheep from goats, so the glorious Son of Man will separate good from evil, faithful from unfaithful. Those counted among the righteous, however, will not be those clothed in earthly power, but those who served the king in the hungry, the stranger, the sick and the imprisoned. In this final moment, we discover that righteousness is not to be found in piety or even faith, but in service and faithfulness. The First Reading puts it most harshly: “the sleek and the strong I will destroy.”

How, then, are we to prepare for Christ’s glorious return? Service, of course, is a key component, but there is something more. For in this time, we must choose which kingdom we will serve: the kingdom of war, violence, and injustice, or the kingdom of “truth and life…of holiness and grace…of justice, love and peace” )Preface: Christ, King of the Universe). We know we are citizens of the latter, and so we must simply pray, today and throughout the year, that “we may live with him eternally in his heavenly Kingdom” (Prayer after Communion).