Thirty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (26 Nov)

Feast of Christ the King
Gospel: Matthew 25:31 – 46

The words King, Kingship, Monarchy, Majesty all conjure up a variety of images and emotions. Power, tyranny, weakness, domination, extravagance, being subject…… For very good reasons, many people are against the whole idea of monarchy, see it in stark contrast to our cherished values of independence, individuality, democracy, equality, justice. So: Christ the King?

But then we remember: ‘You are a king then?’ We recall Fra Angelico’s beautiful and poignant portrayal of how Christ was treated and mocked, dressed in a parody of kingly regalia. And so we come to today’s Gospel, initially a bit of a shock, until we see how other images of kingship follow from the example of Christ’s pouring out his life for love of us. A version of psalm 22 starts: ‘The King of love my shepherd is’. All the other attributes of a good king come to mind; someone who ensures justice, peace, community, well-being. But these do not happen just because the king is good. Being part of such a kingdom challenges us to rise to the essential demands of membership. These could not be more practically spelt out for us than in the Gospel today. There is nothing highflown or esoteric about following Christ the King. It is all about very basic love of neighbour.

Sr. Lucina Montague OP

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