Saturday, November 21, 2020

Christ the King, Year A

The Last Judgment,
 Rogier van der Weyden (1446-52)
The Solemnity of Christ the King is the final Sunday of Ordinary Time, which closes the liturgical year with a profound and powerful act of worship. As the seasons of the church year mirror the entire drama of salvation, this last week draws our attention to the four last things: death, judgment, heaven and hell. The Gospel from Matthew (25:31-46) reminds us that our eternal destiny begins with this life, and is shaped by our efforts to love God and all whom we encounter. What great joy is in store, and for all eternity! St. Hippolytus describes this in detail:
As the holy gospel clearly proclaims, the Son of Man will gather together all nations. He will separate people one from another, as a shepherd separates sheep from goats. The sheep he will place at his right hand, the goats at his left. Then he will say to those at his right: Come, my Father’s blessed ones, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Come, you lovers of poor people and strangers. Come, you who fostered my love, for I am love. Come, you who shared peace, for I am peace.
Come, my Father’s blessed ones, inherit the kingdom prepared for you who did not make an idol of wealth, who gave alms to the poor, help to orphans and widows, drink to the thirsty, and food to the hungry. Come, you who welcomed strangers, clothed the naked, visited the sick, comforted prisoners, and assisted the blind. Come, you who kept the seal of faith unbroken, who were swift to assemble in the churches, who listened to my Scriptures, longed for my words, observed my law day and night, and like good soldiers shared in my suffering because you wanted to please me, your heavenly King. Come, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Look, by kingdom is ready, paradise stands open, my immortality is displayed in all its beauty. Come now, all of you, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.... Enjoy forever the gifts of my heavenly Father, and of the most holy and life-giving Spirit. What tongue can describe those blessings? Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, not human heart conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.


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