Reflections on the Readings
Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ The King - November 20, 2011 - Year A
By Dennis S. Hankins
"When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats." - Jesus
His Glorious Throne
I heard a really good story today. It seems to me I am supposed to share it with you since it is right in line with the readings for today.
This is a true story. One of my colleagues at work told about a man caught shoplifting groceries at a local grocery store. My colleague and her sister watched as the man was retained with his two children hanging on to their daddy's pant legs as they cried. Then the sister of my co-worker spoke up and said, "He's with me. I'm buying those groceries for him." The store officials balked but finally gave in and let this advocate buy this man's stolen goods. The groceries came to about forty dollars. Outside the store the thief wept and tried to find the words to express his gratitude to his benefactress.
Then the King will say to those at his right hand, "Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me."
Today's readings reveal to us a King who watches over the nations as the Great Shepherd that he is. However, past and present despots rule without any thought of him who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. They relish their delirious self importance and live in the comforts and advantages they deny their citizens. Some even allow their armies to shoot upon their detractors who clamor for more than the crumbs that fall from their leaders' tables. Freedom of religious practices and piety of the Christian minorities throughout the troubled Middle East remains one of the vexations of our time. This is what happens when regimes, Presidents, Governors, and Legislatures, deny the King of heaven and rule without any fear of the Lord in their heart.
Not our King. He leads us beside the calm and refreshing streams of salvation. He withholds nothing from us. What's his is ours. The sweet yolk of his love envelops his Kingdom and its citizens. His burden is light; the burden to love and forgive as he has loved us and forgiven us. His people know he cares for he comforts all who mourn. He keeps their tears as trophies and hears the cries of the orphan and the widow. The solitary and the stranger are welcome into his family. This Kingdom of his love is called the Church - the body of Christ. In her is found the living water that brings us to the love of the Lord she serves.
Through the sacraments of the Church we meet Jesus. In these sacraments we encounter the grace of Christ who restores our soul. Even though he sits on a glorious throne high and lifted up, he always comes to us and leads us through the dark shadows and valleys of this life. Into the light of a better day he is leading us. And when the devil comes among us to lure us back into the shadows, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah will roar with the power that raised him from the dead. We need not fear any evil for Christ our King is near and watches over us from the top of the mountain over yonder! He never will leave us nor forsake us. This is his promise.
Today, as every Lord's Day, he invites his anointed ones, you and me, bathed in the waters of baptism and anointed with the oil of confirmation to his Table. Crucified love spreads this table before us. Calling us to himself from our fractured lives and brutal weeks at work, he brings us to himself and his peace. Here where nothing can separate us from his love, we are nourished on the love that hung from a glorious cross. From the cross he said to all who would hurt and offend in his holy empire, "It is finished." This is a special day, and a special moment with him who from his Glorious Throne presides over this holy meal and says to you and to me, "Come and eat. This is my body and this is my blood."
Praise to you Jesus Christ, King of Glory!
Dennis Hankins is a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, of the Diocese of Knoxville, TN. Prior to his uniting with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil 2006, Dennis served as a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org His website is: www.dennishankins.com