A Celebration of Justice

The Solemnity of Christ the King, November 21, 1999

Ezekial 34, 11-12, 15-17 + 1 Corinthians 15, 20-26, 28 + Matthew 25, 31-46

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In the dark days of the rise of fascism in Europe earlier this century, the Church proclaimed this great feast as a reminder to all the world that temporal governments are not supreme, there is one King over us all, Jesus Christ.

And what a King he is! He heals the injured and the sick, brings back those who have strayed. He is stern with the sleek and the strong, but he is a just judge in all things.

He is the One by whom life came into the world, who destroys the last enemy, which is death. He is Lord over all sovereignities, authorities, and powers.

When He comes in his great glory, attended by angels, he will judge all humanity with justice. Who are those who enter into peace and blessedness? Those who have fed the hungry, sheltered the homeless, given water to the thirsty, and visited those who are sick or in prison. Having lived justice, they will reap the consequences of their actions. Who are those who go away into damnation? Those who do not feed the hungry, who shut their doors to the homeless, chase away the thirsty, and forget about those who are sick or in prison. Have lived injustice, they will reap the consequences of their actions.

This is the servant leadership modelled for us by Jesus. Though he was rich, for our sake he became poor, emptying himself out entirely, being obedient even unto death. He opened his life to all who were rejected -- the weak, the persecuted, the marginalized. And when the oppressors came to him, he opened his life to them too, if they would only accept it. Some did, most did not.

The world isn't in much better shape than it was back when this feast was first proclaimed. It is a world afflicted with many grave injustices. At its heart, this solemnity is about social justice. It celebrates not the corrupt and violent governments under which we live, but rather the just Judge who is the ultimate ruler over all, who will one day bring all who commit oppression to accountability for their actions.

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