Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ the King (Mt 25:31-46)

St. Martin of Tours was a Bishop in the fourth century. Born to a senior officer in the Roman army, he was required to join the army at the age of fifteen. One day, while he was serving in the army, as he was approaching the gates of the city of Amiens he met a barely clothed man begging for alms in the freezing cold. He immediately stopped and impulsively cut his military cloak in half and shared it with the beggar. That night Martin dreamed of Jesus wearing the half-cloak he had given away and he heard Jesus say to the angels: “Here is Martin, the Roman soldier who is not baptized; he gave it me.” Martin’s disciple and biographer Sulpicius Severus states that as a consequence of this vision Martin “flew to be baptized.”

Christ The King

Christ The King

A common and familiar theme presented by Jesus throughout his public ministry was that we must love our neighbor as ourselves and care for the marginalized.  One of the best examples of this is the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, found in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus tells us of a rich man who lived sumptuously while ignoring a poor man, called Lazarus, who was starving to death at his door. Lazarus died and went to heaven; the rich man was consigned to the netherworld where he was tormented by flames and suffered greatly from thirst. When the rich man pleaded for Lazarus to dip his finger in water and cool his thirst he was told “My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.”

If we are asked to describe our faith what immediately comes to mind are such things as the creed, church doctrine and dogma, morality, family and community, and our personal relationship with God. And while these are all essential elements of faith, they are in many ways, focused only on the letter of the law, much like the Pharisees, and miss the most important criteria for true discipleship.

Jesus constantly and insistently commands us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the poor, welcome the stranger, care for the sick, and visit those who are in prison. The importance that Jesus places on caring for the poor and marginalized can be measured by the fact that every tenth line in the New Testament is a direct challenge to care for the poor. It should be abundantly clear that Jesus considers acts of mercy and compassion for the poor as important, perhaps more so, than any creed, dogma, or doctrine.

He tells us that when the Son of Man comes he will judge us by whether we served the least of his brothers and sisters; He calls us to love one another, to see Christ in each other, to encounter Christ in everyone we meet.

A portion of a poem attributed to Saint Patrick of Ireland called the Lorica, or Breastplate, conveys the closeness that Christ is to each of us:

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise…
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye of every one who sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

Each of us is the body of Christ—so remember whenever you encounter:

someone who is hungry and you give them food,
someone who is thirsty, and you give them drink,
a stranger and you welcome them,
someone who is naked and you clothe them,
someone who is sick and you care for them,
someone who is in prison and you visit them

that you are doing it to one of the least and to Christ himself; and for this you will inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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