Today marks the closing of the church’s liturgical year with the celebration of the feast of Christ the King. Jesus came as our Good Shepherd and entrusted us to one another. When he comes again at the end-time, we shall come face to face with him and see our worth through his eyes and from our own. We anticipate him asking us: Have you cared for one another? What have you done for the poor and weak among you? Put in another way, only one criterion will matter when the time comes – love and compassion for others.

As followers of Christ, our lives can best be examined on the basis of what we have done to alleviate six conditions of poverty and suffering: hunger, thirst, exile, nakedness, illness, imprisonment. Jesus tells us that our faith in God is manifested in our action in behalf of compassion and in the passion and perseverance with which we pursue the work to combat these inhumane conditions.

The kingship of Christ is not one of dominion, power and control. His kingdom is not about building empires, about prestige and popularity. Rather, it is the kingdom of love, service, justice, reconciliation and peace. It is about the transformation of our hearts into his vision – that all may have life and have it to the full or abundantly.

Jesus uses the image of the final judgment not to scare us as to what will happen at the end of the world but to teach us on the one essentials of life, on what really counts or matters. This gives us an opportunity to evaluate what concerns us in developing a healthy and joyful life. This gives us a chance to look at our service as an act of deep faith.

And so on in this feast of Christ the King we ask ourselves: What holds dominion over us? What drives us in this life? How are we growing in Christ’s vision? Are we becoming Eucharist to one another? How are we working for the transformation of our world and of our community into a kingdom of love, peace, reconciliation and service?

Perhaps, truthful answers to these questions will reveal to us that we have other gods that capture our allegiance and attention. The image of the last judgment is not only serving those in dire need. Rather it is a about serving God, for the neighbor in need is no other than Christ himself.

About Fr. Reu and his other reflections.