Theme: THE END OF THE WORLD: THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST AS KING OF THE UNIVERSE
- Ezekiel 34:11-12. 15-17
- Psalm 22 (23):1-3. 5-6. R. v. 1
- 1 Corinthians 15:20-26. 28
- Matthew 25:31-46
Today is the 34th or last Sunday of the Liturgical Year and today we celebrate the feast of Christ the King! We celebrate the feast of Christ the King at the end of the Liturgical Year, because we believe that at the end of the world, Jesus Christ will be the King of the universe! He will have established his kingdom fully, perfectly and completely! The end of the world is not the end of the physical world, but the end of the evil and sinful world; the end of death and the Devil! As Christians we do not fear the end of the world, but we look forward to the end of the world, because the end of the world is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ as King of the universe!
The gospel today tells us that at the end of the world, Jesus Christ will come a second time as king to judge the nations! He will reward those who have done good deeds of mercy and punish those who have not done good deeds of mercy!
It is important to note that the gospel today does not talk about sin, but about good works! In order to go to heaven it is not enough not to commit sin, but we must also do good works, especially good works of mercy! But if we want to talk about sin in today’s gospel, then we talk about the sin of omission and not the sin of commission!
The gospel today tells us that the wicked were sent to hell not because they committed sins of stealing, killing, adultery, etc., but because they did not do good works of mercy! Again, the good were sent to heaven not because they did not commit sins, but because they did good works!
Like the gospels of the last two Sundays on the “Virgins” and the “Talents” respectively, the gospel today tells us to prepare for the second coming of Jesus Christ by doing good works, especially good works of mercy, so that when Jesus Christ comes a second time he will welcome us to heaven!
‘Come you whom my Father has blessed, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world, for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was naked and you clothed me, a stranger and you welcomed me, sick and in prison and you visited me’!
But more than that, the first reading from the prophet Ezekiel tells us that Jesus Christ is not only a King, but he is a Shepherd-King! And like a shepherd, he looks after his sheep, he rescues his sheep, he saves his sheep, he feeds his sheep, he looks for the lost sheep, he brings back the stray sheep, he bandages the wounded sheep, he makes the weak sheep strong, and he watches over the healthy sheep!
The first reading today (Ez 34:11-16) is an outline of the allegory (symbolic story) of the Good Shepherd in John 10:11-18, (NJB), where Jesus says, ‘I am the good shepherd. I lay down my life for my sheep! I know my sheep and my sheep know me! Just as the Father knows me and I know my Father. And I lay down my life for my sheep’! (Jn 10: 11. 14-15)
Jesus Christ is not only a King, but a Shepherd-King, and not only a Shepherd-King, but a Good Shepherd-King who lays down his life for his sheep!
Finally in the second reading from the first letter to the Corinthians, Paul tells us that ‘Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. Death came through one man, in the same way, Resurrection from the dead came through one man. Just as all men die in Adam, all men will be brought to life in Jesus Christ in the proper order: First Jesus Christ, the first-fruits, then after the Coming of Jesus Christ, those who belong to him. After that will come the end, when Jesus Christ will hand over his kingdom to his Father after destroying all sovereignty, power and authority. For he must be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet, and the last and worst enemy is death. After subjecting everything to himself, he will in turn subject himself to his Father who has subjected all things to him, so that God his Father may be all in all’! This is the end of the world! This is the second coming of Jesus Christ! This is the Good News!
Today in this Mass we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and we eat his body and drink his blood and our Risen Lord will give us His Holy Spirit to do good deeds of mercy, so that when Jesus Christ comes a second time he will say to us, ‘Come you, whom my Father has blessed, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world, for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, naked and you clothed me, a stranger and you welcomed me, sick and in prison and you visited me’! Go to heaven! Not “go to hell”, but go to heaven! This is the Good News!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.