Pope Pius XI saw a world that had pushed Jesus Christ out of view. He established the feast of Christ the King in 1925 to shine light into a world of darkness, the darkness of greed, violence, and selfishness. The feast is officially titled the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
Jesus, then, is king of the universe, of all of creation—a creation that is moving, that is in process until its completion which we call the kingdom of God. Some people name it the kin-dom of God, emphasizing the connectedness, the relationship of all, akin to the sheep and shepherd imagery. We acknowledge this relatedness each weekend when we hear our names, brothers and sisters, in the prayers and the readings of the Mass. Do we need to be reminded that we are all brothers and sisters, no exceptions?
In the Scripture readings for Sunday, we hear about kings and we hear about shepherds. The prophet Ezekiel acknowledges that the most powerful leader is not the self-serving tyrant but the humble servant. The shepherd watches carefully, tends the injured, and knows each and every sheep that belongs to his flock.
How do we know that we belong to the flock? That we are known by God? God knows us by the way we care for the least among us. The least include the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned. We recognize these loving, compassionate responses to “the least” as the Corporal Works of Mercy. Who are the least among us today who need our attention, our care, our mercy? How will we respond to God’s invitation to us?