“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers or sisters of mine, you did for me” (Mt 25:31-46).
This Sunday, we culminate the liturgical year with the Feast of Christ the King. Our King demonstrates what it means to serve the Kingdom by his selfless surrender for our salvation. As the good shepherd, he came down from Heaven to seek and save us—his lost and scattered sheep (first reading). His sacrifice on the cross frees us from sin and death. By his resurrection, he offers us new and eternal life. By his ascension, he opens the gates to His Kingdom of Mercy for us. He desires to be with us in His Kingdom forever.
All we need to do is respond to his loving invitation with faith in his promise. That response begins with Baptism, in which we become members of Christ and His Kingdom. His Kingdom is not just in Heaven but, through us, His Kingdom extends to the here
and now. Our baptism calls us to serve His Kingdom as members and faithful Disciples of Christ. However, another kingdom entices us to serve it instead. St. Augustine describes it as the selfish Kingdom of the World. In fact, we must constantly choose between these two kingdoms because, like it or not, everything we do or say serves one or the other.
As we finish the liturgical year and anticipate the beginning of the next, it may bode well to evaluate our journeys of faith together with the members of our community. What have I been doing to serve Christ’s Kingdom of selfless love? The gospel for today gives us a challenging list to start with. How have I been feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger, and visiting the sick and imprisoned? This question may make you a little uncomfortable if you’re anything like me. I have not always done this very well, but thanks be to God, for Jesus is patient and merciful. He is always giving us chances to choose his love and mercy anew. Therefore, we evaluate our successes and failures in serving God’s Kingdom not to feel bad about ourselves but to start anew and to serve more intentionally and faithfully going forward.
Sister Mary Finn, of fond memory, used to give this simple three-step daily routine to help us serve God’s Kingdom. She even made it rhyme so we can remember it easily. It goes:
Exercise and Pray
And a Work of Mercy Everyday
What a powerful proclamation of the Kingdom we would make as a faith community if we each committed to this simple daily routine. But how can we sustain this commitment? Even though it sounds simple, it won’t be easy. If we go it alone, we will most likely quit when it gets tough or when we stumble. However, if we do it together, sharing our successes and struggles, supporting each other, keeping each other accountable, and helping each other when we fall, we can live this commitment to serve God’s Kingdom of Mercy each day. We can do this. Who’s with me?
Fr. Chris Talbot