Homily – November 26, 2017

The most powerful image we have of Christ our King is the one we have from the gospel of Matthew. Pilate found Jesus innocent of the charges the authorities brought against him but had Jesus whipped. After his scourging Jesus was brought before the crowd. He has been beaten; he was wearing a purple horse blanket and a crown of thorns. Pilate mockingly presented the bloodied Jesus to the people – behold your king – only to be told by the mob – we have no king but Caesar.

Today we celebrate the feast of Christ our King. A king of truth and life, a king of holiness and grace, a king of justice, love and peace.

It is a requirement of our faith that we see Christ, we honor Christ, we love Christ, we accept Christ in every person who comes into our lives. It is a requirement of our faith that we faithfully keep the new commandment; Love one another as I have loved you.

Today’s gospel doesn’t pull any punches. It doesn’t say a word about saying daily prayers, going to Mass on Sundays, receiving the Sacraments. All these things are very important in the living of our faith lives. But this gospel tells us we will be judged by who we were and how we were to every person who came into our lives.

I know a man who was asked by a religious friend, ‘are you a Christian?’ His answer was, ’Ask my neighbour.’ That’s a powerful answer.

Do we feed the hunger of a family member, a friend or a stranger who hungers for acceptance or respect or forgiveness? Do we quench the thirst of a family member, a friend or a stranger who thirsts for refreshing waters of friendship and acceptance? Do we welcome into our hearts men and women and children who come from away to start new lives in Canada. Do we welcome new people into our neighbourhood? Do we take time out of our busy lives to make a phone call, drop a line or visit people we know to be housebound, people who go for days with no one to talk with? Do we clothe with respect, even reverence every person we meet – knowing that they are a son of daughter of God, just as we are? Are we there to lift up the weary, people who struggle with depression and anxiety?

These are challenges that come our way in so many ways and on so many days. We all have our own worries and struggles and we look for a listening ear, a helping hand. We know how grateful we are when someone is there for us. Are we willing to be there for others?

We all bear the presence of the Most High, no matter how diminished of devalued we may seem to ourselves or others. We are the bodies of Christ. However we treat others is how we treat him.

As we continue to celebrate our Eucharist we pray for ourselves and each other that all is over and the Son of Man comes in all his glory, none of us hear the dreadful words ‘depart from me’ but only the welcoming words, ‘come blessed of my father.’