Christ the King

Going through the gospel for today’s Christ the King solemn feast, I heard in my mind the familiar, calming chant of Taize: Ubi caritas et amor, ubi caritas, Deus ibi est (where there is charity and love, there God is). As we summarize another liturgical year by celebrating the Kingship of Christ in our lives, we are forced to consider how the Kingdom of God can really be present in our world today.

We proclaim Jesus our King. We await his Kingdom to come in fullness and make itself manifest as sovereign reality and truth in our world. It is His Kingdom and yet we are entrusted with a share of responsibility in its blossoming. How do we hasten the Kingdom of Christ on earth?

Some people say, by Prayer. To find praying people is truly inspiring. People who go to Mass, spend time in adoration chapels, faithfully recite the Rosary or read the Bible. But to think that we can only pray for the Kingdom is a big mistake. Prayer is an important part and the backbone of our efforts. But resorting to prayer alone might be an escape from the demanding responsibilities of cooperating with the Lord’s plans.

Some people say, by Active Service. Many Catholics are involved in efforts that make the lives of others better and their loads easier and lighter to carry. They build houses, organize medical missions, distribute food and clothes or gather funds for victims of natural or man-made disasters. This form of service is very attractive today. But again, some of us can exaggerate the role of human action in making the Kingdom happen that we forget the equally important role of friendship with God.

The gospel today, says that the Kingdom happens to our world through LOVE. We maintain that this love, this love that brings Jesus glory, is born of both prayer and service. It is the expression of love that Jesus desires from his disciples because it is rooted in our familiarity and closeness to him and in a sense of mission to alleviate the plight of those who suffer.

This love gives us new eyes to behold our neighbor. The other person is not just a man or woman but my brother and my sister, part of my life. The hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick and the prisoner are part of me. In loving them, I love my own. In serving them, I serve the Lord.

Today the Lord is asking us to make His Kingdom happen where we are. We do not need to seek the many poor and disadvantaged people of the world. We must start with the people around us who thirst for our love. They are within the family or among our neighbors or just around the parish. If we sincerely pray, Jesus will lead us to the people we need to love.

At the end of the church calendar, why don’t we take some time looking at the Cross. There we will see our King, the one who loved us first and the one who showed us how to love. Lord, draw us near to you through a life of faithful prayer. Lord, bring us to serve you in the people we meet each day. In praying and serving, may we grow in love. May we grow in your Kingdom of love and sacrifice.



Reflecting on the gospel of the Solemnity of Christ the King brought back memories of my childhood studies. In grade school, children were classified by rows. Each row represented a particular attitude in class. Row one students were studious and well behaved. Row two students are a bit more lacking in focus. And row three, four and five… I’m sure you guess what’s going on.

The gospel tells us that the Lord will divide the sheep from the goats, like any shepherd will do; some on the right and others on the left. It is normal. It is done for putting order to the flock. Those on the right receive praise and reward. Those on the left, only rebuke and alienation from the heavenly home.

But how do I get to row one, to the right side? I want to be where the sheep are. How do I get clustered with those who behave properly and well? When it comes to ideals, dreams, intentions, I think it is easy for us to land in row one, among the sheep who are judged worthy of praise for their service of the Kingdom. Who would not want to do good, to share his life, to offer service so that others may live and experience joy? It is easy to dream good things.

But the gospel reminds us that it is not mere intentions or goals that will align us with the sheep. It is real action, practical action, that eventually makes us worthy to be chosen for eternal salvation. And the Lord Jesus gives us hints on what actions we really need to do, what works of love, we must perform for others, what gestures of support we must show as Christians.

Sharing my food, my drink, my clothes. Spending time with the sick, the imprisoned. Kindness to the stranger. – These are the actions, the standards that impel Jesus to say to us: Come, you who are blessed by my Father!

They are not very easy to do however, because our lives have changed. We are busy and frantic with work and other preoccupations. Conscious sharing of our goods become difficult.

In forfeiting the reward of eternal life, God will use the same standards on us. The same actions, when neglected or withheld from others will make us hear the words of the Lord on judgment day: Depart from me, you accursed! Surely we do not want to be in that other row, on the left.

As we celebrate the Solemn Feast of Christ the King, let us look into our hearts and our actions. Do we really desire to be with our King forever and do our actions prove that desire? We are slowly moving on to Advent. May this transition to a new season and church calendar make us more conscious of putting our desires into practical, concrete actions of love, sharing and support.

May we be found worthy of row one!