Vocation Meditation -
Solemnity of Christ the King, 2008
Jesus said to his disciples: "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.
"Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothing. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.'
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' And the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me.'"
This vivid parable reveals to us how God judges us in accordance with our reaction to human need. His judgment does not depend on the knowledge we have amassed, or the fame that we have acquired or the fortune we have gained, but on the help that we have given to those in need. What kind of help is asked of every follower of Christ?
It must be help on simple things. The things that Jesus picks out - food for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, welcome to a stranger, cheer to the sick, visits to a prisoner - are all things anyone can do. It's not a case of grand things to do, like giving huge sums of money, but it is a case of giving simple help to the people we meet every day.
It must be a help which is uncalculating. Those who helped did not even think they were helping Christ and so they could pile up eternal merit. Here are those who did it because of compassion. They felt the call of human need, of pain, of brotherhood. It was the natural, instinctive, uncalculating reaction of the human heart. To help others so that it will be recognized by others and by God is not to help at all, according to Jesus. The help which wins the approval of God is that which is given for nothing but for the sake of helping the least.
Jesus' revelation confronts us today with the powerful truth that all such help given to the least is given to Himself! In contrast, all such help withheld from the needy, is withheld from Him! Indeed, there never was a parable which so opened the new way to glory for everyone. Anything done to those belonging to the Kingdom of God, shares the glory of Christ, the King!
My vocation is a call to give an uncalculating response to the needs of the least.
How sensitive am I to see as Christ sees, the pain and struggles of those around me?
For the full Gospel reading for this Sunday, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site.