We come to the finale of the church year, the feast of Christ the King. When God raised Christ from the dead he made him lord of heaven and earth, That’s why we call him King. At the end of all He will come in Kingly Glory to judge the living and the dead. Let’s prepare for that day now by cleansing our hearts of anything that separates us from our king of love on Calvary..
In the end we will be judged by love, St.Theresa says. it’s also the theme of Christ’s second coming to separate the sheep from the goats. They will be separated according to their practical charity towards their fellow human beings or lack of it. This parable shows how important charity is in the lives of Christians. As St.Paul also says: “charity cancels a multitude of sins”. But apart from the fact that charity is the key to our salvation, we Christians should make a special effort to help the needy for another reason. Because they’re children of God, our brothers and sisters in Christ. If your brother or sister here in this area was starving would you walk by. People would say how heartless. But all are our brothers and sisters in Christ.
And He asks us to love each of them in a practical way. Yet how many of us walk by brothers and sisters in the gutter. I include myself in this. Every day on TV there are images of starving children in Africa and I turn away. Are we responsible for righting this wrong? Yes, because we are our brother’s keeper, and we’re partly to blame for their suffering. When in The Philippians I saw how 60% of its GNP went to repaying interest on a national debt to western banks. For every euro we give to the poor countries we take 9 out in payments to our banks. That’s the great global financial system that even here now takes from pensioners to give to rich bondholders.
Charity should start here, with the needy brothers and sisters around us. As Christmas approaches giving to Vincent De Paul is one way of helping. Directly or indirectly we might give of our surplus to the less well off. Indeed, that’s our Christian duty so as to make the world the kingdom of Christ the king of love. Even people living with us can be needy and were too caught up in work to notice. In our homes a simple hug costs nothing.
But at home or abroad we Christians can’t ignore others needs. Lest our King of love say to us when he comes at last: “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire for I was hungry, and you didn’t give me to eat etc”. If Christ came on earth now and asked us for money for the poor we’d surely give; but needy Christ’s beg us for help every day. Give to everyone who asks, Christ says. I myself find that hard but if someone asks I always give something. Sure people take advantage, but we can’t deny the Gospel, and it’s better to err on the side of generosity than be mean. For only as giving people are we sons and daughters of a God who gives us everything freely; “freely, freely you’ve received, freely freely give”, the hymn says. Christ was king of love on Calvary because he gave to the last drop of blood for us. We should also give until it hurts, and even our smallest acts of charity will be rewarded by God. For the hard self-centred world of which Satan is lord will be cast down at last, but Christ will be eternal king of loving giving people forever and ever amen.
So at this end of the church year remembering that we’ll be rewarded for every ounce of charity and love we show lets make our profession of faith in our King of Love..
Prayers of the faithful
And as God’s people let’s pray for our and the world’s needs.
For church leaders throughout the world, especially our Holy Father and the bishops, that they may be the voice and heart of Christ the King to all those in need in our world..
For civil leaders that they may make it their special care to reach out to the poor and underprivileged in society..
For our youth that they may look to the interests of all those in need around them so make a difference by their lives..
For ourselves in our homes that we may never be so caught up in work and making money to give the gift of care and affection to our children and aged or sick relatives and neighbours..
For the sick, the aged, the lonely and the oppressed that through our care they may know that they are loved and cherished as all precious children of Christ the king of love on Calvary..
For the dead that our vital charitable prayers on their behalf may lead them out of darkness into the glorious kingdom of God that Christ the king has prepared for them..
And we ask all our prayers through Christ the King of love and peace and glory forever and ever amen.
There’s a story told of St Martin. One cold wet winter day he was riding home and saw a poor man on the road with scant clothes, shivering with the cold. Martin got down from his horse, took off the fine thick cloak he was wearing and wrapped it around the man. That night he had a dream. Wrapped in that cloak, he saw Christ saying to him, “thank you, Martin, for clothing me in my need”. This echoes Christ word today: “as long as you did it to these the least of my brethren you did it to me”. Let’s all reach out to the needy Christs around us..Hail Mary..