Things to Ponder
I use this page to share messages of an inspirational nature, or simply something to ponder. It is my hope that you will always be inspired.
Felicita "Terry" Robinson
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Homily - Solemnity of Christ the King - Gospel of Matthew 25:31-46
Introduction:Are You Ready for the Final Exam?
This Sunday’s Gospel passage is the conclusion of Jesus’ discourse with his disciples. It is about the end of time, the coming of the Son of Man, and the final judgment. We hear the description of the final judgment at the conclusion of our liturgical year – the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King. In the context of Matthew’s Gospel, this passage might also be read as a conclusion of Matthew’s report on Jesus’ life and public ministry; the remaining chapters report the events of Jesus’ Passion and Resurrection.
In this Gospel, Jesus describes to his disciples (as well as to you and me!) the scene of the judgment of the Son of Man. All the nations will be assembled before him, and he will separate them as a shepherd separates sheep and goats upon their return from the passage – a scene that would have been all too familiar to his audience of that time. The judgments made by the Son of Man will be based upon the acts of mercy shown to the least ones – the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the ill, and the imprisoned. Notice how Matthew speaks in particular, real-life terms, and not in mere abstractions – such as “love others.” Plus, Matthew wants you and me to be shocked by this final scene, to remember it well, and to be prepared for it. In effect, the last judgment is our “final exam!” Will we pass? Fail? The sharpness of the division—we are either “in” or “out” —is indeed sobering.
We can also recall that last Sunday’s parable about the talents taught us that the gifts we have been freely given are on loan to us for the service of others. But this Sunday’s Gospel emphasizes an unexpected twist: they are to be shared especially for the least among us. Indeed, Jesus dramatically tells us that whenever we have served these least ones, we have served Christ himself. An important point: “You did it to me, not for me!” Powerful!
I would invite you to take time to read and ponder the words from the Gospel of Matthew 25:31-46.
What word or words caught your attention?
What in this passage comforted you?
What in this passage challenged you?
What do I see when I see persons in need?
Do I see a hidden glory and dignity within them?
Further Questions and Reflections:
“Ever wonder why the Gospels give us no description of Jesus? It’s to free us to recognize God in the least of our sisters and brothers. Could be a stranger, or too familiar. Poor, perhaps, but maybe rich. Same race, gender, or religion as you, or not.” - Maryknoll Missionaries
Catholic Relief Services has a dramatic phrase on their communication apps: “Jesus in disguise.”
Do you see “Jesus in disguise?” Where? How do you respond to this Jesus in your local community?
The things you and I are asked to do are so simple: give food and drink to “Jesus” in those who are hungry and thirsty; to clothe “Jesus” in those who are naked; to visit “Jesus” in those who are sick and in jail. Whether we realize it or not, every time we spontaneously take care of a brother or sister in need, it is Jesus himself we are serving.
Where are the hungry, the naked, and the homeless, who would call on me if they could reach me? Or have I organized my daily life that the needy never impinge on me?
This long, dramatic parable has a simple message: “Minister to the needy around you or else you are missing the whole point of living!” How do you honestly measure up to this Gospel message?
Several personal questions to ponder:
Picture Jesus at the last judgment. What expression will be on his face when you stand before him? A smile? A frown? And what will you hear him saying to you at that final time? Would you respond?
Deacon David Suley
St. Patrick Catholic Church
Published with Permission