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Let Us Love One Another

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Homily for the Solemnity of Christ the King

CLICK HERE FOR THE YOUTUBE VIDEO VERSION OF THIS SUNDAY HOMILY 

God wants you to be happy and overflowing with joy.  He wants you to fulfill your destiny and purpose in life by reaching eternal life in heaven.  He is so interested in you that he sent his only begotten Son to save you from sin.

Remember, God’s love for you is unconditional.

Think about this for a moment: God’s love for you is unconditional.

Christianity is a love story: God loves you unconditionally and he calls you to love him unconditionally.

Up until the time of the first Christmas when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the road to salvation was rather confusing.  But now, with the coming of Jesus, the way that leads to eternal life is clear.

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.

In the Profession of Faith, we pray: “For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.”

In this Sunday’s gospel passage Jesus tells us exactly what we need to do to enter into the glory of heaven: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick and visit those who are in prison.

Christianity is very practical and it is to be lived within the ordinary circumstances of every day life.

Too many times we might fall into the trap that Christianity is lived out only in the special moments, like when you see someone in need on the side of the street, or when there are natural disasters.

However, we can only respond to those special moments if we are living the gospel each day, and in a very practical and concrete manner.

It is precisely because of the mystery of the Incarnation, that the boundaries between God and man are erased.

“Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Matthew 25: 40).

These words from this Sunday’s gospel passage remind me of these powerful words from the First Letter of John: “…since whoever does not love the brother and sister whom he can see cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4: 20).

We are called to love.  This is the meaning of our lives.  Every act of service, every act of kindness, every act of self giving must be seen as an act of love.

And who do we love?

“Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Matthew 25: 40).

Before his conversion, Francis of Assisi was riding his horse through the countryside.  Suddenly he came upon a leper.  Despite the ugliness of the terrible disease, Francis was so moved with pity, that he jumped off of his horse and flung his arms around the unfortunate man.  As Francis looked at the leper, the man’s face changed and it appeared as the face of Jesus.

Is Christianity possible?

Yes, of course it is.

But, we need to be Christian.

We need to show the world that love is possible and that we believe in love.

I think one of the greatest acts of charity that you can do when you get up in the morning, or when you go to work, or to school, or to church, or even when you do your shopping, is to do something so simple: just smile and say hello to people.

Show everyone that you are a living member of the Kingdom. Yes, you are a member of a beautiful kingdom, a kingdom that God has prepared for you “from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25: 34).

The kingdom that we belong to is “a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace” (Preface).  

Show everyone that you are happy to be a follower of Jesus Christ.  Let everyone know that you are excited about the Kingdom of Christ.

The Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matthew 22: 1-14) and the Parable of the Virgins and the Bridegroom (Matthew 25: 1-13) underscore the reality that Christianity is the greatest romance of all.

It is appropriate to recall, once again, the famous of words of Saint Augustine: “To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement.”

Both parables indicate that God’s relationship with us, our relationship with God, and our relationship with each other is the Marriage Feast.

From the outlook of the Gospel, every nuptial experience is a manifestation of the Kingdom.

Intimate mutual love is at the very center of the Christian experience and the image of this reality, as displayed in both parables, can only take place within the relationship with between a bridegroom and his bride.

Selfishness can be our biggest obstacle from truly experiencing the exuberant joy of Christianity.

 We need to forget ourselves completely.

Saint Pope John Paul II wrote: “Man cannot live without love.  He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it” (Redemptor Hominis, 10.1)

This Sunday’s gospel narrative also teaches us that sins are not only the things that we do, but that sin also consists of those things that we do not do.  This type of sin is called sin of omission.

“Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me” (Matthew 25: 41-43).

Selfishness, when it is deeply rooted in our souls, prevents us from loving the way we should.  It keeps us from being aware of the needs of others.

Blessed Mother Teresa certainly showed the modern world how to love.

She once said: “What I can do, you cannot.  What you can do, I cannot.  But together we can do something beautiful for God.  Yes, you must live life beautifully and not allow the spirit of the world that makes gods out of power, riches and pleasure make you to forget that you have been created for greater things – to love and to be loved.”

So, as we come to the end of another liturgical year, let us take an inventory of our personal life.  How Christian am I?

Do I feed the hungry?

Do I give drink to the thirsty?

Do I welcome the stranger?

Do I clothe the naked?

Do I care for the sick?

Do I visit those who are in prison?