Reflection for 34th Sunday of Year

My dear Friends:

Today we are celebrating the feast of Christ the King! We often hear Jesus refer to the ‘kingdom’ which dwells within us. However, in today’s gospel there are few, if any, ‘spiritual’ nuances. He does not mince his words! He gives it to us right between the eyes! It is His mandate to his followers, subjects of His Kingdom:

      For I was hungry and you gave me food,

      I was thirsty and you gave me drink,

       a stranger and you welcomed  me, 

      naked and you clothed me,

      ill and you cared for me,

      in prison and you visited me.

I think you will agree, there is no ambiguity in these statements! Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, came to break the yoke of oppression and injustice. As his disciples, we are mandated to address the economic, material and social plight endured by our brothers and sisters around the world. Within our Catholic Tradition, the Corporal Works of Mercy demonstrate the ways in which we are required to respond to the physical needs of the poor  by feeding the hungry; visiting the imprisoned; burying the dead; clothing the naked; caring for the sick; sheltering travellers, and giving drink to the thirsty.

Christ the King is a Saviour who has broken, and through our discipleship, continues to break, the chains of social injustice, physical poverty, destitution, greed and evil. The great Lebanese writer Kahlil Gibran attempted to capture this when he wrote:

      Jesus never lived a life of fear, nor did He die suffering or complaining....

      He lived as a leader; He was crucified as a crusader;

      He died with a heroism that frightened His killers and tormentors.

      Jesus was not a bird with broken wings; He was a raging tempest who broke all crooked wings.

      He feared not His persecutors nor His enemies. He suffered not before His killers.

      Free and brave and daring He was. He defied all despots and oppressors... He muted Evil and He choked Treachery.

The vision, strength and courage we all need to try to transform the migrant tragedies we see unfolding in the English Channel and the Mediterranean; the broken and homeless on our streets; the hungry, cold and thirsty; the lonely and imprisoned (and Covid19 restricted!) are echoed in the words of the Prophet Ezekiel: I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statues and to carefully observe my ordinances…you will be my people, and I will be your God.

Remember me as Loving you,

Fr. Antony

The parish is part of the Diocese of Portsmouth. Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust registered charity 246871.

© 2019• Immaculate Conception Church, Portswood, Southampton

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