Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King
November 26, 2023
Among fairy tales some of my favorite stories are about kings who disguise themselves and go among their people to learn of their true needs. In those stories, the wise king knows his people and is able to care for them because he’s shared their struggles. What a far cry from so many of the secular rulers–kings or presidents–throughout human history.
Today’s liturgy highlights the kingship of Christ with two readings which use images of sheep and shepherding. Ezekiel has God taking on the role of shepherd—caring, rescuing, healing and judging us, who are God’s flock. The image shifts a bit in the Gospel, where Jesus is still our shepherd, but the role of judge gets more of the emphasis. There—like the understanding king in some of those fairy tales—Christ our King has identified completely with those who are hungry, thirsty, homeless, without clothing, in need of healing or imprisoned. This familiar scene of the last judgment sets the criteria for entrance into the kingdom of Christ: How have we recognized our King in those who come to us in need?
We may have little control over the conduct of secular presidents or kings. But our relationship with our heavenly King is clear: We are to embrace him in our loving service to one another.