Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle A

Feast of Christ the King

michelangelo last judgement



Feast of Christ the King


"When the Son of Man comes in his glory"

Today, the last Sunday of the Church's year, celebrates the Feast of Christ the King and invites our reflection on the Second Coming of Christ in final judgement. During this year we have been listening to the Good News of Jesus Christ according to Matthew. By retelling the teachings of Jesus, including many of his parables, and the example he left us, Matthew has offered us some insight into the meaning of the Kingdom of God. He has shown us how freely, generously, almost recklessly God bestows his love upon us - how the power, or Reign, of God's love within us can utterly transform our lives - and how such gift demands response in our own lives.

Today's gospel reading tells us clearly the sort of response the Lord will be looking for. The key phrase is: 'in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me'. Jesus identifies himself with people in need, whoever they are, and he identifies himself with them so closely that service given or refused to them is service given or refused to him. Quite simply, we will be judged on how we act towards other people's needs.

The lesson is clear: God will judge us, not by fame or fortune, or outwardly recognised success in life, but by our reaction to human need. Hence the element of surprise of those who find themselves accepted and rejected: the unwitting goodness of some, and the unrecognised failure of others will be brought to light.

But that judgement is now, determined by how we act in our ordinary daily lives right now, not some time in the future. Jesus is present among us right now; wherever there is human need he is there waiting for us in the weak, the poor and the vulnerable.