Last week I went to garage sales around Bendigo area in Australia. I was struck by the many things people can acquire only to realize later on that they don’t actually need them. So they would want to get rid of them. It is good though because there are people also out there who need those things. In fact I got a couple of things which I really need to have…one is my golden watch I am wearing now for the price of $3, would you believe it.
Why am I telling you all this? What does it have to do with our solemnity of Christ the King?
The feast of Christ the King is established in 1925 to counteract the growing trend of atheism and secularism at the time. Yet these trends are still here in our day and age. Together with these trends is the rise of materialism. It is true that not a few people think that material things can satisfy all our longings. It is sad that for many, Christ is no longer the KING in their lives. It is an unfortunate fact that even for us, we tend to show more allegiance on something else but CHRIST himself. We have this other ‘king’ or ‘kings’ in our lives, whom we devoted more time, more energy, or more money than we do to our REAL king in Heaven.
Our Gospel today, tells us of Christ, our real KING who would come in the clouds and judge us according to how we serve him as our REAL KING, and on how we serve God in our fellow human beings around us. Jesus would recount for us how we fed the hungry, how we quenched the thirsty, how we clothe the naked, how we welcomed the stranger and on how we visit the sick and imprisoned.
But there is an interesting point in our gospel that makes me reflect how must I strive to be worthy of heaven when Jesus comes again. Both sides, i.e. the sheep and the goats, asked Jesus same question: ‘Lord when? When did we see you hungry, thirsty, naked, etc?’ It seems like they didn’t know at all. It appears that they were not aware what they have done or what they have not done.
It is because their attitude towards the needy is already part of their nature. If things are already natural for us, most of the times if not always, we take things for granted. We don’t pay much attention on what we are doing. We don’t make such a big deal for it. This is indeed a call for us now: if we have not developed it yet, to create an attitude of caring, loving, serving and giving towards our brothers and sisters in need, and make it a part of our nature. I have met some people whose heart is naturally inclined to help people that they don’t care how much would it cost them as long as they can help the needy. Of course, we have to do this in freedom. So we can also do the opposite, but in the end of our lives we just can’t help but face the bad consequences of our neglect and omission.
Our celebration of Christ the King therefore calls us to make Christ the center of our life again. We can do this by letting go of those other ‘king’ or ‘kings’ in our lives whom we swore allegiance to. If we put Christ as the driving force of our lives, we find out that all those things we think we need are not they lose their value but rather they just fade into the background.
Today we pray with humility that God would make it part of our human nature the values of the kingdom of God: the value of loving and caring service to our needy brothers and sisters and to live out these values by using the means and the resources that we are lucky to have and possess.