End-of- year feast calls us to generous love and mercy
by Sister Jane Riha
We close another liturgical year with the Feast of Christ the King. This feast was instituted by Pope Pius XI at the end of the First World War. Christ the King is not a worldly king or political leader. The readings for this weekend clearly define qualities of a humble, compassionate, and challenging king.
He comes as a Shepherd who brings his sheep to places of rest and refreshment. The prophet Ezekiel describes a shepherd who searches out the lost and those who are wounded. In the Gospel of Matthew 25: 31-46, the expectations of this king are clearly defined.
The description of the challenges placed before us are poignant for our times. The origin of Sunday's feast was at the end of a war yet the devastation of war continues. As we view the images of Israel and Gaza, the land where Jesus once walked, our hearts are moved by the suffering and loss of life. The struggle for power continues. The Gospel of Matthew calls us to be persons of generous love and mercy. If we choose to follow Jesus as his disciples, this is our true call and mission in life.
- Provide food and drink for the hungry and thirsty: This hunger may be for food and water but there are persons who hunger for understanding, for a visit, for a kind word.
- Welcome the stranger: This may be a new immigrant or the person in your neighborhood who needs a friend.
- Clothe those without resources: Clothing drives are common at this time of year but consider clothing someone with respect and with attention.
- Visit the ill and care for them: Loneliness is considered a great illness in our time. Talk with someone who is lonely.
- Visit the imprisoned: If you don’t know someone in jail or in prison, there may be persons in your life imprisoned by addiction or depression who would welcome your visit.
Our Christ the King is a God of love. Let us take on this challenge.