Reflections

SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING, NOVEMBER 22, 2020

Whatever You Do To My Brothers, You Do To Me
1. The Stranger Was You, Lord
2. Have You Met Me in the Poor?
Greeting (cf. First Reading)
All praise to the Lord who says:
”I shall look for the lost one,
bring back the stray,
bandage the wounded
and make the weak strong.”
May this compassionate Lord be always with you.
R/ And with your spirit.
Introduction
1. The Stranger Was You, Lord
Today we conclude the Church Year with the celebration of Christ, our Shepherd King. He came as our Good Shepherd and entrusted us to one another. When he will come to evaluate our life and how much it is worth in his eyes and in ours, he will ask us: Have you cared for one another, have you served, especially the poor and the weak? This is not only a matter of serving other people: it is also serving God, for the neighbour in need is no other than Christ himself. It is therefore an act of deep faith. In this Eucharist we ask the Lord for generous love and faith.
2. Have You Met Me in The Poor?
In a grandiose vision the Church year ends with the celebration of Christ the King, and next Sunday the Church’s New Year starts with Advent. Matthew presents to us the scene of Christ our Lord coming as a king in judgment. This scene is the counterpart of the beatitudes, where the poor and the suffering were called blessed. At the judgment the Lord will ask us: “What have you done for the poor and those who weep?” Jesus shows himself here not only as close to the poor and the humble, but he is himself the gentle, the sick, the persecuted. He asks us: “Have you met me in them?” What do we answer him?
Penitential Act
If we had only recognized the Lord
in the gentle, the humble and the persecuted!
Let us ask the Lord to forgive us.
(pause)
Lord Jesus, you looked for the lost ones,
you bandaged the wounded and made the weak strong:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.
Jesus Christ, you came to gather together
those scattered in the mist and darkness:
Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, you identified
with the hungry and the sick,
with strangers and with those in prison:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.
Have mercy on us, Lord,
and forgive us all our sins.
Make us serve you in people,
that you may bless us
and take us into everlasting life. R/ Amen.
Opening Prayer
May we share in the Lord’s kingship
by serving him in the poor and the humble
(pause)
God, Father of the poor,
your Son Jesus was born among us
poor, humble and dependent.
Open our eyes and our hearts and our hands
to honor him now as our Lord and King
by welcoming him in those who are hungry and thirsty,
in all who are abandoned and lonely,
in refugees, in the poor and the sick.
Let our love become free and spontaneous,
like the tenderness you have shown us in your Son.
Welcome us in the everlasting Kingdom
prepared for us through Christ Jesus our Lord. R/ Amen.
First Reading: God, the Shepherd King
As Israel’s kings have failed their people, God himself will lead them as a shepherd who cares for his flock.
1 Reading: Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17
Thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will look after and tend my sheep. As a shepherd tends his flock when he finds himself among his scattered sheep, so will I tend my sheep. I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered when it was cloudy and dark. I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD. The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy, shepherding them rightly. As for you, my sheep, says the Lord GOD, I will judge between one sheep and another, between rams and goats.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 23:1-2, 2-3, 5-6
R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose. R.
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake. R.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows. R.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come. R.
Second Reading: Christ Must Reign
Christ was the first to rise from the dead. His power of resurrection is at work in this world through those who belong to Christ. At the end, Christ will present his kingdom to the Father.
2 Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28
Brothers and sisters: Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through man, the resurrection of the dead came also through man. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the first fruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. When everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all.
Alleluia Mark 11:9, 10
Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: Christ Will Judge Us on the Basis of Our Love of People
Jesus is not only close to the poor. In the destitute, those who suffer, we encounter the Lord himself.
Gospel Matthew 25:31-46
Jesus said to his disciples: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Commentary
Who is the judge?
Today’s parable is easy to understand. We are in a solemn moment: the final judgment. The moment when our actions will be judged, each of our actions will be weighed. The parable tells us that at that moment God will separate one from another, the good from the bad. Just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats in his flock. Who is who? Almost everyone hearing the parable has no hesitation in identifying the sheep and the goats. On the right are the sheep, the righteous, those who have spent their lives doing good. Those on the left are the goats, the bad ones, those who have behaved badly.
Nor is it difficult for us to identify the recipients of the good deeds of the good and the bad deeds of the bad. Jesus makes this clear. They are the neediest, the last in society, the despised and neglected. They are the hungry, the strangers, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned. They are at the margins. It is interesting to observe that the good ones are good because of how well they have treated those downtrodden, whom nobody wants or values. And the king, God himself, identifies with them. He does not say that the good ones are good because they have treated the poor, the sick and the imprisoned well. He says they are good because they have treated Him well. God identifies with the poor. This is what the Christian tradition has always affirmed. What is done to the poor is done to God himself. One must have a good eye to discover in the poor, God himself. This is already an important lesson for this Sunday with which the liturgical year ends. It is the last lesson, the most important one, the summary of what has been learned throughout the year. We will be saved by the way we treat God himself in the figure of the poor, the sick, the imprisoned… And woe who have not learned that God himself is present in them. The poor are God’s sacrament to us.
One last detail. When we identify the characters in the parable, we usually find it easy to identify with the poor who need help, with the good ones who treat them well or with the bad ones who leave them aside. But let’s recognize that in practice the one with whom we identify many times is the judge. We like to be judges of our brothers and sisters and determine who should be on the right and who, on the left; who are the good and who are the bad. The last part of the lesson: never be anyone’s judge, because that position has been reserved by God for himself. Let’s not forget that as it is very important.
For your reflection
With what eyes do we look at the poor, the needy, the sick, the imprisoned? Do we see Christ in them or do we simply despise them? How often do we judge our brothers and sisters? How often do we take the place of judges, that place that God has reserved for himself?
Intercessions
Let us pray to our Lord Jesus Christ for all those who need our compassion and care, for all those who commit themselves to the poorest and for those who are afraid to be involved. Let us say:
R/ Lord, make us serve you in people.
– For all who have lost their way in life we cry out to you to make the Church welcome them and give them you and your Good News to live for, we pray:
R/ Lord, make us serve you in people.
– With all people driven from their homes, with the many victims of war and civil strife, with all strangers living in foreign lands, we cry out that people may be hospitable to them, and so we pray:
R/ Lord, make us serve you in people.
– With all those who hunger for food, who thirst for justice, who crave for human dignity, we cry out that we may hear your voice in them, and so we pray:
R/ Lord, make us serve you in people.
– With all those who care for the sick and the handicapped, with doctors, nurses, pharmacists, midwives, we cry out that we may recognize you in those who need affectionate, loving care. And so we pray:
R/ Lord, make us serve you in people.
– With all those who are imprisoned because of their convictions, with all those who are persecuted; who are prisoners of their hatred, their greed or their failings, we ask you to free them, and so we pray:
R/ Lord, make us serve you in people.
The voices that cry out to us, the eyes that plead with us, may we recognize you in them Lord, and love you in them. Be near to us, now and for ever. R/ Amen.
Prayer over the Gifts
Father in heaven,
this is the bread you give us
to share with the poor
and here is the wine you wish us to drink
with all who have forgotten what joy is.
In these signs let your Son Jesus come among us
and give us the love and the strength
to meet him in all who hunger and thirst
for food and affection,
in all that is little and insecure.
Let this be the sacrifice you accept
through Jesus Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.
Introduction to the Eucharistic Prayer
As the people who belong to Christ, we recognize him as the King of the universe, the Saviour and the Judge of all. With him we give thanks to the Father and commit ourselves to his kingdom.
Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer
With Jesus our Lord,
who will hand the kingdom to the Father,
we pray to God that this kingdom
may become a reality among us. R/ Our Father…
Deliver Us
Deliver us Lord, from every evil,
and grant us your peace in our day.
Keep us free from sin,
that on the day of judgment
we may stand before you without fear
and that already we may look forward
with hope and joy
to the full coming among us
of our Judge and Saviour Jesus Christ. R/ For the kingdom…
Invitation to Communion
This is Jesus, our Risen Lord
and King of the universe.
Happy are we to eat his bread of life now
and to be invited as the blessed ones
called to inherit the kingdom
prepared for us since the creation of the world. R/ Lord, I am not worthy…
Prayer after Communion
Father in heaven, in this Eucharist
we have given thanks and praise to you
and acclaimed your Son Jesus Christ
as the Lord and king of our lives.
By the strength of his bread of life
may we go his royal way of loyalty to you
and service to one another.
Gather us together as your holy people,
and without claiming to be your kingdom,
let us be to the world
at least the humble sign of it,
until you take us into your home of peace and joy
through our King who became the servant of all,
Jesus Christ our Lord for ever. R/ Amen.
Blessing
It is not enough to acclaim Jesus Christ
as our Lord and King.
Our mission in life is
to make his kingdom a reality among us
and to bring it to those around us
by our words and deeds.
The way to do this is to live as he lived:
for others, in love and service.
May almighty God bless you for this task:
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord
and to give shape to his kingdom. R/ Thanks be to God.

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