Solemnity of Christ the King
Following Jesus as King
Points to note
There are many aspects to the concept of Christ as King. We will explore the various aspects in the three times that this feast is celebrated over the cycle.
This year, we deal with the king as a judge in two ways. The common view is held of judges as those who passes judgements and sentences on the guilty. Initially, kings would pass judgements personally. Then gradually as kingdoms get bigger, other able persons were co-opted to assist the king in this role until today, kings no longer personally pass judgements but have professional judges to do so in their name.
But there is another facet to judging. In monarchies until this day, kings (and queens) judges persons who are worthy (normally, they have a panel to assist them in making the selection) and these worthy people get an award or a title (in republics, presidents only hand out awards but not titles).
Today, we explore Jesus’ role as king in both facets of a judge.
Acclamation before the Gospel
Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessings on the coming kingdom of our father David!
Explain that today is the last Sunday of the Church year and next week we start the season of Advent.
The Lord be with you.
All: And also with your spirit.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St Matthew
All: Glory to you O Lord
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.
‘Then the King will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage 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 a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.” Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?” And the King will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”
‘Next he will say to those on his left hand, “Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you never gave me food; I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink; I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me.” Then it will be their turn to ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or naked, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?” Then he will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.”
And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life.’
This is the Good News of the Lord
Today, we celebrate Jesus as King. What do kings in olden days do? (Let’s not look towards the kings of today – most of their work has now been outsourced to others!!). They may need to refer to the role of lords and kings that they see in movies and TV programmes of olden days.
Of the long lists that emerge, select the role of the judge. What would you like to do if you were a king judging for one day? Let the children talk about what they would do to those they don’t like – but spare the gory details.
Would what you do be different if Jesus was doing the judging and you were helping him? A judge like Jesus has to be fair and a judge only decides based on evidence and not on personal feelings.
Who does Jesus judge? Lead the children to understand that judging is not only for the guilty but also to reward those who are worthy.
Discuss what this means - that whatever good & bad that was done was done to Jesus. Have we ever stopped to think about it whenever we do anything good or bad – or hesitated to do anything good or bad. Maybe, it is something we should do.