Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Brethren of the King

Reflections on the Readings

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

November 23, 2014 - Year A

The Brethren of the King

And the King will answer them, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me." (Matthew 25:40)

We rightly ask who are these 'least of these my brethren' with whom the King identifies? There surely is an ethical application of meaning to this passage and we do well to take it to heart. There is, however, a oneness of the King with those who suffer for the sake of his name. In my preparation for this reflection I read that scholars see these brethren of Christ as those who are witnesses of Christ.

It is therefore appropriate and pleasing to the Holy Spirit that we should see how closely Christ is to those who bring his light to the darkness in our world. In the news in recent days are reports of those who claim the name of Christ being chased from their ancestral lands of family and faith. Pursued like Israel of old, the new Pharaonic despots of our day pillage the ancient homes and Churches of Christians and then behead those whose only crime is that they love Jesus. Fathers and mothers and their children in Syria and Iraq fleeing these ghastly atrocities are grossly missing from the radar screens of democratically elected officials including our own government.  

These are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Many of our kinsmen with whom we are united in baptism, languish in prisons far from their family and friends. In scripture we read: Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them; and those who are ill-treated, since you also are in the body. (Hebrews 13:3) In Revelation 12:11, the visionary John explains that the dark work and resistance of Satan's kingdom is under attack. How? By those who hearts are drenched by the blood of the Lamb, and who in their witness to Christ love not their lives even unto death. 

Pius XI inaugurated this Feast of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe in 1925. In doing so Pius XI said that there is another King and that there is no part of our lives from which he should be missing. It is first in us that the world sees that Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. First, we welcome Christ into our life, into our homes, into our thoughts, into the inner most place of our innerness. Then compelled by that same love we love the world that he gave his life for. Will you give your life too? What sacrifice will you make to make Christ known? .

Will knowing and sharing Christ make you popular? Sometimes maybe not. Jesus said, "Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me." Do not be dismayed, if they persecuted Christ, they will persecute you who carry his cross. 

Jesus said, "He who receives you receives Christ. He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward." (Matthew 10:40-42)

May we hear the King say to us on Judgement Day, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me." Amen.

Dennis Hankins, a Catholic Evangelist, is a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, of the Diocese of Knoxville, TN.  Prior to uniting with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil 2006, Dennis served as a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. E-mail Dennis at: or follow him on Twitter: @dshankins or visit him at:

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