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!