The scripture readings for today can be found at http://usccb.org/bible/readings/112314.cfm
Today is the last Sunday on the Church Calendar and is known as Christ the King Sunday. The Feast of Christ the King is a recent feast. It was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 because nations and rulers were abusing their power at the time.
The term "king" may sound strange to our American ears. After all, over 200 years ago we fought the Revolutionary war to break free from the tyranny and abuse of King George. We have no kings or queens ruling over us. Yet, how often does the news media pay attention to the royal family in England whenever a major event, like the birth of a new child, takes place? After all, who really cares?
Almost 200 years before our own Revolutionary war there was another example of an abusive king. St. Thomas More, the 16th century Lord Chancellor of England, was beheaded for refusing to sign a letter asking Pope Clement VII to annul King Henry VIII'S marriage to Catherine of Aragon because she had not given him a son. He further antagonized Henry VIII by refusing to take an Oath of Supremacy declaring Henry Supreme Head of the Church of England. On his way to the scaffold, Thomas sent a message to Henry saying, "I die the king's faithful servant, but God's first."
Our gospel for this feast of Christ the King shows us how we are to live our lives. Not in service of kings & queens. Not in service to our selfish desires or lusts. We are to live the values of Christ's kingdom: that of service to others and of humility. We are called to have Christ at the center of our lives by feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked. We are to welcome the stranger (the immigrant). We are to comfort the ill. And we are to visit the imprisoned. The imprisoned can be more than those who are doing time in jail. The prisoner can be the next door neighbor who is sick and lonely, and has no family or friends to visit. Being imprisoned in your own home can be just as bad (or worse) than being held behind bars.
The fulfillment of Christ's kingdom in large part relies on us. It relies on our possessing faith, hope, and love that are strong and far-reaching. Christ's kingdom relies on our willingness to - like St. Thomas More - give our best as our King's good servants. "... whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40
Praise be Jesus Christ, now and forever!
Deacon Tom Tortorella is a guest blogger on FatherRosado.com. He is a permanent Deacon for the Archdiocese of New York and is currently assigned to St. Clare of Assisi Church in the Bronx, NY. He was ordained by His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan on June 19th, 2010.
The photo above was provided courtesy of John Stephen Dwyer