The Gospel According to Matthew – 2017.11.26
Jesus is not a King
The reading for today contains much of what is true, and much that is the false.
Let us begin with this:
Jesus is not a king, not an emperor.
Jesus is brother, Jesus is friend.
The glory of Christ is expressed in his mercy, you will not find Christ seated on a throne, commanding armies of angels, with the nations assembled before him.
It is the duty of all Christians, of all who would follow in the way of Jesus to reject such images. They lead to fallacies.
What is true is this:
Our love and fidelity to God, and Christ is expressed in how we treat one another; rich or poor, weak or strong, right or wrong.
Among the ancient Hebrews, both the sheep and the goats were integral to their community, each belonged.
We are one human family, we are not sheep and goats, we are never divided by God, we are only divided by each other.
We must reject all such efforts to divide us.
In our human family there is good and bad, there are right and wrong. We are called on to foster the good, and forgive the bad.
We are called by Jesus to forgive even those who do us harm.
Christ the King, the Son of Man
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.
‘Then the King will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.” Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?” And the King will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”
‘Next he will say to those on his left hand, “Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you never gave me food; I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink; I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me.” Then it will be their turn to ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or naked, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?” Then he will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.”
‘And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life.’
34th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Christ the King