Saturday, November 22, 2008

Commentary for the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King by Sr. Renee Wargel, OSB

Today's gospel is the scene of the Last Judgmehnt - The Vision of our eschatological future. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, will sit upon His glorious throne in glory with all the angels with Him. All the nations will be assembled before Him.

Like a shepherd, Jesus will separate the sheep from the goats...the faithful on His right and the unfaithful on His left. Jesus will make decisions both sobering and surprising. It is sobering to hear the Shepherd separating the sheep from the goats because one gets the sense that there is no way of escaping it. It is surprising because people are judged on the way they meet the very basic needs of others.

The throng of people gathered at this event will be judged according to the way they treated the disciples of Jesus...Jesus' Apostles were chosen with Jesus' authority. To reject the Apostle is to reject the One who sent the Apostle.

The guilt of the people being judged in this passage is not found in the wrong they have done, but in their failure to accept those who were bringing them the Gospel to them.

The righteous are invited into the Kingdom where they will enjoy eternal life. The wicked are cast into the punishment of eternal fire. The personal choices they made will decide the sentence they receive.
The Kingdom of God is an inclusive Kingdom. Criteria for membership are not based only on obedience to the commandments or on conformity to ritual obligation. Membership is based on the covenantal bonds that unity us to each other; the bonds of love and concern...bonds that reach deep into the human heart.

Concerns must be genuine. Assistance is given whenever and wherever it is needed: in ordinary acts, in giving food and drink, shelter and clothing; in spending time with someone who might be lonely or afraid; in patiently waiting for the elderly person; in thanking people for their services.

The Kingdom we establish during our lifetime...this will be the kingdom into which we will be welcomed at its end. Christ, the Good Shepherd, looks to us through the eyes of the needy, the disfigured, the refuse of the earth. They are Christ's hands reaching out for assistance.
It is Christ who tests our patience and generosity. It is through the least of God's people that we enter into the KINGDOM OF GOD!

No comments: