Jesus Christ is King! Viva Cristo Rey!
What in my life proclaims that fact? What tells someone else that I am claimed by the King of the Universe and owe my entire being to Him? Is there a t-shirt I can wear? Is there a bumper sticker or a neat hat? Should I wear particular jewelry or shoes? What is the uniform? How do I let other people know that Christ is not just the King, but that He is my King?
On the feast of Christ, King of the Universe, we are called as a Church universal to acknowledge that we have a King, Jesus Christ, who taught, suffered, and died for us, rose again, sits at the right hand of the Father, and Who will come again to judge us. This is the all-powerful Lord, who comes to see how His Church has been following Him and continuing His mission throughout history.
Jesus even tells us how He will judge us, in the parable that we hear today. That judgment will be based on how we treat the most vulnerable, the needy, the poor – the “little ones”: 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.' In other words, every action in favor of or in ignorance of these least of all, Jesus considers as done personally to Him. How do people know that Jesus is your King? How do you treat Him in these people?
This is not just a personal call – although, yes, we will each be judged individually on our love of neighbor. It is also a call to the Church – who we are as the community of believers who call on Christ our King. As a parish, is Jesus our King? Again, how could people know? Does our presence make a difference in the Kingdom of Christ the King?
It does, if we remain faithful to continuing Christ’s mission in our world: if we are committed – wholly committed – to what Ezekiel calls the People of God to in our First Reading today: “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.” Doing these things is the mark of a parish that has Christ as our King. It’s more than paint nights and dances, more than raffles and even more than building church buildings. Rather, it is about being that presence of Jesus in the world, so that people experience His power in their lives.
Having Jesus Christ as our King is not a mere slogan. It is not something that we put on and take off. Rather, it is the single motivating factor of our lives. Jesus is the one whose love gets us out of bed in the morning; it is He who determines how we dress, how we speak, how we act. It is Jesus who determines where we go and how long we stay. If we knew that we could be meeting our King at any moment, in any person, in any place, shouldn’t we be completely tuned to doing His will? Wouldn’t our lives look different? Couldn’t people tell that there was a special motivating factor behind who we are?
I suggest that as a parish, we reexamine these words of Scripture that we hear today, on our feast. Can we make them ours? Can they drive our mission into the future as disciples, subjects of Christ the King? Our task, now and forever, must be to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, to welcome the stranger, to clothe the naked, to comfort the ill, and visit the prisoner; to seek the lost and to bring back the strayed. These are the marks of a community with Christ as our King. This is how we proclaim it. If that sounds good to you, then let’s say it:
Jesus Christ is King! iViva Cristo Rey!