Ezekiel 34, 11-17
1 Corinthians 15, 20-28
Matthew 25, 31-46
There is a story about American missionaries in August, 1977 who stayed with a group of nuns in a convent in Nairobi, Africa. One morning at breakfast, the Americans were greeted with the news, “Your king has died.” Because of the puzzled look on their faces, the nun repeated, “Your king has died.” Finally, the bearer of this confusing and surprising news said, “Elvis Presley, your king of rock, has died.”
This is a good illustration of the fact that the same words don’t always carry the same meaning in all cultures. In different contexts they express different meanings.
This November we celebrate the last Sunday of the church’s liturgical year. We name it the feast of Christ the King. Despite the efforts of some, Jesus Christ is not a king in the realm of the entertainment world. Nor is he one who rules over us in the political sense. He is the ruler we think of when we set up the standard by which to measure our Christian life. His life is the standard of compassion, justice, and generosity by which we measure our lives. Just how has he influenced your values, your actions and even your dreams this year?
We discover his path in the gospels. We learn what ruled him and how he built his life around that. We learn how he hastened in prayer to his Father, and how he defended those undervalued by society. This list is a long one: lepers, tax collectors, women and children, prostitutes, the poor.
|“Jesus of the People” by Janet McKenzie|
He reached out to them as he reached out to us. He moves them to follow him and to live and love in the same way he did. His was a life of invitation. His was an open life. In this he found his joy. In this he also discovered suffering. His path leads to the fullness of life.
How fully do we take into our lives the patterns that ruled his life? This feast invites us to welcome Christ more deeply into our hearts and into our lives. We do this when we welcome him in our neighbors, in the poor, in the sick and homebound, in the youngest among us.
Jesus is our dependable measure. Let us live gratefully with him as our rule of life, as the standard, we use for seeking and living the fullest of lives!
Rosemarie Greco, DW
This was previously published in Quest (Fall 2008), a reflection booklet of the Pastoral Dept. for Small Christian Communities (www.sccquest.org), a service of the Archdiocese of Hartford, CT.
Printed with permission.