On this last Sunday in Ordinary Time, we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. The history of this feast dates back to 1925 when the fascists were coming into power in Italy, Spain and finally Germany. As Communism was threatening the social fabric of Europe, this feast was initiated by the then pope to stand against the pagan glorification of the state. It served as a reminder that political power must never claim the absolute allegiance of any human being.
This is also the Sunday designated in the United States for the collection for the Campaign for Human Development. The date is chosen because it is the Sunday before Thanksgiving. This year, however, it also meshes extremely well with the readings for the day. All three readings call our attention to the Day of Judgment.
The first reading announces the theme at the end: "As for you, my sheep, says the Lord God, I will judge between one sheep and another, between rams and goats." Jesus uses that same image in describing the final judgment in the Gospel. The second reading speaks of Christ reigning until all his enemies are subject to him, when he will hand over the kingdom to the Father.
The description of the judgment in the Gospel parable reminds us that it is not our beautiful worship services or our devotional practices that will count at the end of the day. What matters ultimately is whether we have loved God in those in need. The liturgy of this weekend brings our attention to the poor and needy. Christ the King is not primarily a feast for celebrating the power of Christ and patting ourselves on the back for following the ultimate victor. It is a call to imitate our king, who came not to be served but to serve.
Thanks to all who have worked these past weeks with the many activities of the Basilica’s centennial. The evening Guadalupe celebration and procession with our sister parish of Immaculate Heart for December 12th will begin there at 7PM. All St. Mary’s friends and parishioners are invited to mark their calendars and join us there. We will walk together through the streets to a solemn Benediction and reception at the Basilica. Thanksgiving is on the horizon for the coming week. Know that we are held together in the daily Great Thanksgiving we call the Eucharist. Giving thanks is what we at St. Mary’s do for a living. May our home banquet tables that day radiate blessing to everyone around us.
A gentle week.