Each day has a beginning and an end, moving from dusk to dawn and back to dusk again. Each life has a beginning, an end and the promise of immortality from God Himself. The feast of Christ the King, which we celebrate at the end of every Church year, is meant to renew our belief that Christ reigns supreme in heaven and on earth and will come to judge the living and the dead.
That strikes fear into the hearts of many people. Many of us wonder how we will be judged and what our immortal inheritance will be. The Gospel given to us on the feast of Christ the King attempts to answer those questions in a way that should inform how we live today.
When there is a reckoning about the choices that we have made and the consequences for us and the world, we are given a clear image of how God will act.
The Scripture readings should erase any doubt about how interconnected we are. If you lack the clarity of responsibility toward those most in need, the Gospel gives clear direction.
We are asked to look at our relationships with the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the imprisoned and all others who live on the margins of our society. We are told that whatever we do to any of these, the least of our brothers and sisters, we do to Jesus. There is no lack of clarity and no uncertainty about this teaching. There is no way of explaining away the wisdom and truth given to us here, yet many of us excuse ourselves from this mission that Jesus sets before us.
We use excuses like being too old, not having enough money, not being appreciated for what we’ve done in the past, or any other escape instead of doing what Jesus asks us to do. Many of us wonder how God’s promise will be fulfilled in the world. We wonder how any of us will move from violence to peace, from separation to connection, or from revenge and hatred to forgiveness and reconciliation.
By doing what Jesus told us to do, the promise of God begins to be fulfilled. It is not our role to decide who is worthy of assistance; our job is to assist them. Decisions about who will properly use the money, clothing or hospitality are not for us to make; our job is to do what Jesus told us to do. Consider the arrogance required to hear Jesus’ words yet decide that we know better. There are no excuses left that would remove us from fulfilling this essential mission that Jesus gave us.
The reign of God will come to be with those of us who claim to be His followers and do what He told us to do. This is how wars will end and migrants roaming the face of the Earth will find a home. This is how starvation will end. This is how the isolation of prison or sickness will end. Establishing relationships is the instrument of God’s healing on this earth.
Broaden the boundaries of your life. Go beyond the comfortable and the familiar.
Father Donald Wester is pastor of All Saints Parish in St. Peters.