Feast Of Christ The King 2020
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: November 22, 2020
Sometimes I wonder, if Jesus were giving a certain teaching today how would it change? I thought about this famous passage from Matthew 25 that we just heard in today’s Gospel, that is so familiar to us. What if Jesus was giving this teaching of Matthew 25 during this Covid pandemic time? Perhaps it would sound like this:
“Come, you that are blessed by my Father, for I was in a store with you and you stayed 6 feet away, I was in a room with you and you wore a mask, you came to church but they were full so you returned home peacefully to be with me there, I was at a funeral with you and you did not hug or kiss me, we could not gather in a large group and so instead you called me by phone.”
Any act of charity, any act of kindness, any practical effort to care for someone in need, whether we realize it or not, we are doing this for Jesus. It does not matter if you are doing it for religious reasons or not.
When Mother Teresa spoke about the schedule of her Sisters, she said they would start the day praying in the chapel. There they would spend quiet time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Then they would go out into the streets to serve Jesus in the poor.
This is the model of the Christian life. We spend time with Jesus in quiet prayer, we listen to Jesus in the Scriptures. We come to experience Jesus in the Eucharist: listening to him in the Word, united with him in the fellow believers, the body of Christ, blessed by him through the priest and receiving him in our hands in Holy Communion. Then we go out to be with Jesus in the people we meet at home, at work, at play. In each person we care for in some practical way, we care for Jesus.
Where will you meet Jesus in your daily life? Someone sad at home. A friend who is grieving. A co-worker struggling with depression. An elderly neighbour who is unable to get out on their own. The poor within our community. Your own spouse who is struggling. Your own child who is anxious. A parishioner who is lonely. When we reach out to any person in our life, we are touching and caring and listening and speaking to Jesus.
If someone comes to us and says that they are struggling to feel God or to believe in God. We might give them some good reading, direct them to a good web site, send them for a retreat. But, most helpful would be to send them out to care for someone in need. Go out and listen to someone in need. In some practical way to show care for them. It is there that we encounter the living God in the least of our brothers and sisters.
Jesus as king, Jesus as ruler, is not one who dominates, controls, manipulates us. Jesus quietly, simply and humbly serves. The hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the homeless, the sick, the prisoner. Like a shepherd caring for each one of us. When we care for one in need, then we are joining Jesus the good shepherd. This is the mission of the Church. Church is at its best not when in positions of power, but when caring for the weakest and most in need among us.
What will be the exam at the final judgement? Will we be given a test with questions from the Catechism? Will we be evaluated based on whether we followed certain moral or church rules? Will the number of times we came to church be counted?
It seems rather that in the final judgment we will be asked: when Jesus was sad, when Jesus was hungry, when Jesus was alone, when Jesus was grieving, when Jesus was struggling, did I do something for him? Both the righteous and the unrighteous asked, “Lord, when was it that we saw you…?” He will answer, “… just as you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me.”
Spend time with Jesus. Quiet time in prayer in your room, time with Jesus here in the Eucharist, time with Jesus in the Word. But then go out and spend time with Jesus in the people you are with throughout the day. Jesus is waiting for you in one person who needs your care.