Although most religious advice that we hear sounds wonderful, it doesn’t always work for us. In today’s Gospel Jesus says, “What you did for one of the least brothers of mine you did for me.” Those words give rise to people telling us we should see Christ in unfortunate ones. I know that is very good advice, but it doesn’t work for me. I see just the individual I’m dealing with, and I can’t fit Christ into him or her. What I do see is a fellow brother or sister of our doting father, and I know it pleases him when I go out of my way to be kind to this runt of his family.
The second reading today calls Christ “the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep,” and that could put you in mind of an ancient understanding of kingship. The ancients in many countries saw their king as the direct descendant of the first individual of their race to set foot on their shore. Christ, the first fruits, was the first of our race to put a foot on heaven’s shore.
For celebrating the feast of Christ the King you should find beauty in the Preface of the Mass. It conjures up an image of what Romans called an official "Triumph." It was like a tickertape parade, and it was an honor the Roman Senate voted to a general who had won great honors for Rome. The day became a holiday for the citizens who would line the road, cheering on the great general and all in his command.
The Preface gives particular attention to the followers in his command. Christ the King “delivers to Thy sublime majesty an eternal and universal kingdom; a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace.”
And, I want to be there when the saints go marching in.
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