Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Homily Solemnity of Christ the King 2008

[Personal story relating to goats...]

Goats are rather self-sufficient animals, preferring the higher ground for eating,
seldom remaining in one place for long,
and causing dissension by their ting temperament.

In stark contrast, sheep enjoy lush, green pastures and peaceful streams,
and they are content to remain for lengths of time,
truly appreciating their environment and their nourishment.

Sheep are docile, that is, easily cared for, taught and trained,
and they happily wait upon the will of the shepherd.
They are gentle and affectionate creatures,
which enjoy still waters and naturally avoid situations that cause agitation.

As the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Jesus Christ the King,
we hear the words of Holy Scripture
calling us to contemplate the kingship of Christ
and its implications for our lives.

The Gospel for today’s feast is the image of the great and final judgment.

Using an image that resonates with the nomadic and rural people of his time,
that of a shepherd separating sheep from goats
Jesus describes the judgment he will make
as king of heaven and earth.

The Lord refers to sinners as goats
because their vices resemble the behavior of goats:
belligerence, pride, mean-spiritedness toward other creatures.

Most sin can be traced back to the common roots of pride and self-absorption.

the tendency toward sin that is in all of us because of Adam’s fault…
leads people to think highly of themselves,
and to seek their own way and their own personal satisfaction,
all the while ignoring the needs of others.
Jesus definitively condemns the self-centered and destructive behaviors
of those on the left…
those who spend all their time, energy and resources on themselves
darting about from one fanciful notion to another
and never pausing to recognize the needs of the others in their midst
like the goats who browse the fields but never
and who seek the best for themselves while ignoring the flock.

He also condemns the prideful ignorance that resembles the pride of goats,
especially those who cause constant turmoil within families and workplaces
and dissent within the Church,
by always believing they know better, asserting their flawed ideas,
and pouting if they are not agreed with and acclaimed.

Men and women who are far from the heart of Christ and unworthy of His promises
bring their punishment upon themselves
by their self-promotion, pride,
and negligence toward fellow human persons.

The virtues of the blessed ones, who are judged worthy of eternal life,
are compared with good behaviors of the sheep beloved by the shepherd.

The Lord commends the virtue of those on the right…
whose lives were characterized by self-sacrifice and kindness toward others
and who sought to bring healing and aid rather than division and turmoil.

Even though we are far removed from the culture of nomadic shepherds,
we must not fail to grasp the meaning and value of this parable,
for by these same standards we, too will be judged.

The essential difference between the blessed and the condemned…
is the manner in which they have beheld the startling majesty
of Christ the King.

To accept the kingship of Jesus Christ means to recognize
that He reveals His person in the person of others.
Jesus the Good Shepherd is revealed in the teaching of the pastors of the Church.
The person of Christ the Suffering Servant is revealed in the poor and needy,
whom we are called to serve and care for always.

To accept the kingship of Christ also means to recognize and revere His humility,
His humble submission to the will of God…even unto …
and to imitate the humility of Jesus
by our submission…our placing ourselves under the mission…
of God and of the Church.

The Kingship of Jesus Christ is perfected only in the glory of Heaven.

Yet, it is the mission of the Church on earth to bring about the salvation of souls
and to establish the Kingdom in the hearts of men and women.

Today’s feast raises our awareness that our time on earth is not a waiting room,
not an experience of passing time and enjoying life’s available pleasures.
We are caught up in the mission of the Church
and called to contribute to the formation of the Kingdom.

Our acceptance or neglect of this profound invitation from God
most certainly has real and eternal consequences.

We will be judged on whether or not we have recognized the startling majesty of J. C.,
on whether or not we have seen Him in those who suffer
and met their needs with joyful love
on whether or not we have embraced the opportunity to imitate His humility
placing our desires aside in order to enter into the work of the Church:
to teach, to sanctify, to serve in love.

Every day we are faced with the choice to be obstinate and contentious goats
or docile and obedient sheep.
On those choices we will be judged
and nothing less than our eternal inheritance is on the line.

Christ invites us today to turn our backs on the self-serving road to perdition
and choose the road that leads to glory.

Our King invites us to enjoy the blessedness prepared by our Father…
a banquet of eternal life,
a kingdom of justice, love and peace.

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