Homily – November 22, 2020

Today we celebrate the feast of Christ the King. I can’t remember the number of people who’ve asked me if I’m watching The Royals on Netflix. Of all the series it’s supposed to be the best yet.

In today’s gospel our king was hungry, thirsty, naked, a stranger, a prisoner and ill treated. No crown except thorns, no royal robes but naked, no throne but a cross, no jewels but the gaping wounds in his hands and feet and side.

Who are this king’s loyal subjects? Ordinary men and women like ourselves who give food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty, who welcomed strangers and clothe the naked, who comforted the ill and visited prisoners.

Our king’s kingdom is not of this world, it is not a threat or challenge to the Caesars of our time. His kingdom is “a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love, and peace.” Those who respect truth and life, who live in holiness and grace, and who work to bring justice, love and peace, will “inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the creation of the world.”

When we think of the essentials of the Christian faith we generally associate these with belief in a certain creed, acceptance of various dogmas, adherence to a certain moral code, especially as it pertains to private morality,

Jesus, our king, would add something else. For him, a criterion, in fact the criterion, in the practice of our Christian faith is the exercise of the corporal works of mercy.

Feed the hungry? Give drink to the thirsty. Clothe the naked., be there for the sick, the person in prison, welcomed the stranger to your neighbourhood And remember, faith without good works is dead. Are you getting tired of or numbed by the daily reporting of the victims of Corid 19 or the daily reports of the soap opera south of the border? But these are the realities of our lives. We can’t ignore them. They won’t go away.

The same can be true of the reality of the plight of world’s hungry or the desperation of the world’s countless refugees, the exploitation of the working poor or our avoidance of and our denial of climate change. We can get angry or we get numb. We can ask, what can I do about all this and throw up our hands.

The answer is ‘we be mindful’ of these harsh facts that wound the body of our crucified King and make a mockery of his love for the world.

Pope Francis urges us to avoid the anesthetizing allure of indifference and none involvement. We can’t look the other way, we can’t walk away. When all is said and done it comes down to this – whatever you did to these, the least of mine, you do to me.

An Argentinian folk musician who sang during the time of Argentine’s dirty war put it this way – all I ask of God is that I not be indifferent to sorrow – that death not find me empty and alone without having done enough.

Whatever we do or don’t do is what matters.