On this weekend of Thanksgiving, I hope you have recovered from the feasting on turkey and trimmings and survived “Black Friday” and its hoopla. With the holiday season officially underway, we find ourselves celebrating the awesome feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. It has a nice ring to it, but just what are we about here?
Saint Paul gives us a clear indication ~ “Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. …For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life…” So all humankind is restored to life in Christ. And, all those who belong to Christ will be handed over to God the Father at the end of time. That is really big news, awesome news! It also means that Christ is the answer to all the questions of the world, the solution to all its problems. It means that we, His disciples, are meant to make Him present to all the world needs.
Our participation in the work of the Kingdom, becomes more abundantly clear in our Gospel where Jesus explains the Final Judgment. At the end of time, when Jesus comes in all His glory, He will judge each and every person in accord with what she or he has done. His criteria is very specific and very focused and unsurprisingly not the criteria of this world. To enter into everlasting joy, we need to do what Jesus did. By His grace, we need to look after the needs of our brothers and sisters individually and collectively whether they are hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, ill or imprisoned, as well as anything else in between. We are judged on what we do or do not do, not on what others may do or not do. It becomes clearly apparent that either we are part of the solution or part of the problem, even adding to the problem; and, we will be judged on that.
So then are we goats or sheep? Which words will we hear from the lips of Jesus? He died and rose and offers us everything we need to be all that God has created us to be. What are we doing with what He offers us? Do we seek Him out? Do we spend time in prayer with Him? Do we receive the Sacraments of Confession and Communion frequently? Do we attend Mass? Do we have a generous spirit? Do we help where and when we can, especially in meeting the needs of our brothers and sisters? What are our priorities?
In the end, our acts of charity are not “add-ons” to faith. They are not nice things we do. They are fundamental to faith, to being a disciple, to living life here and now in the power of God’s grace working to build His Kingdom here on earth.
May we recognize in our lives Christ, our Good Shepherd, leading and guiding us. May we accept His grace to be shepherds to each other and especially to those in any need so that we can help prosper the Kingdom of God while here on earth and enter into the full glory of Heaven forever.
God bless you, God love you,