November 23, 2014 - Christ the King, Year A
There are many ways we can take care of the least in our midst. Here are just a few examples:
The woman who takes care of her dying neighbor.
The family who cooks Thanksgiving dinner for their poor neighbors down the road.
Saint Martin who gave half his cloak to the freezing beggar.
The student who makes friends with the new kid at school, helping him feel at home in a new place.
The man who visits the prison inmates each week to bring them the gospel message of hope and conversion.
Saint Elizabeth, the Queen of Hungary, who used her money to build a hospital and cared for the poor there herself.
The parishioner who visits the sick and shut-in bringing Holy Communion each month.
These ordinary folks are caring people who perform caring actions for others. These caring actions they perform are the criteria for the Last Judgment scene in the Gospel of Matthew.
These are also the same actions of service to others that we see the Lord God performing in the First Reading from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel.
The prophet says the Lord God will rescue the stray, bind up the injured, and heal the sick. These are the very things that God does.
When we have strayed, the Lord God goes out searching every place where we are scattered to gather us together again.
When we are injured, the Divine Physician dresses our wounds.
When we are sick, Jesus gives us chicken soup for our souls, his very Body and Blood in the Eucharist, which we receive here in this Holy Place.
Msgr. Derouen, in his homily to open our 250th Anniversary Year, called upon us to make this a Year of Charity.
He said, “As you begin your celebration marching toward 250 years, put charity as the goal, as the focus, as the real reason to celebrate.
“Let bygones be bygones in order to reveal God's forgiveness. Let hope fill your hearts to show that God heals and makes whole.
“Let faith be firm in your lives to show forth God's hand at work in our midst.
“And above all, let charity be your cloak so that you may be clothed with love, making you the very hand that God uses to touch others in kindness.”
During this Year of Charity, we must try harder to meet the criteria set for us at the Last Judgment:
Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, giving drink to the thirsty, welcoming the stranger, lifting up those who are hurting, caring for and visiting the lonely and those in prison, and sitting at the bedside of the sick and dying.
In calling us to do these things, Jesus commands that we become more like God. So, we must try harder to do what we see the Lord God doing:
Rescuing the stray. We can do this by inviting back those who have strayed from our faith community; reaching out, not with judgment, but with love, to those who have lost their way.
Binding the injured. Pope Francis has said that the church should be like a field hospital dressing the wounds of those who are hurting.
We can welcome those who are hurting, offering them God’s healing love.
And healing the sick. The Divine Physician longs for us to be made whole, God longs for creation to be restored.
Jesus Christ our King longs for us to live our lives in imitation of him. Jesus Christ our King longs for us to join him around his throne.
How are we going to get there? By taking seriously this, our Year of Charity. For, whatever we do to help the least in our midst; this we do for the Lord.