Father Ian VanHeusen presents a Gospel reflection and spiritual exercise on the Mass readings from the 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the feast of Christ the King, Matthew 25:31-46, where Jesus tells His disciples.
As adopted children of God, we actually participate in God’s Authority. When we celebrate the authority of Jesus Christ, we participate in it by the gift of God’s grace. This solemn feast gives us a particular opportunity to reflect on Jesus’ supernatural authority and in how we, as members of His body, are also called to exercise authority that goes beyond temporal understanding.
We invite you to watch Father’s video, then prayerfully read the Gospel and reflection. We pray that this might help you in your apostolate, your family, your classroom, or personally… to prepare for and more deeply experience Sunday’s Mass, and to better integrate the Sacrament and the readings into your daily life.
5 Ways to Exercise Your Authority as a Child of God
1. Cultivate the virtue of hope and know that God will rescue us.
2. Cultivate a habit of conversion.
3. Practice hospitality. Welcome strangers.
4. Hear that we are blessed.
5. Seek Christ in the poor like Mother Teresa.
Every day, see Christ in the suffering and the poor, looking for moments of grace. We claim our authority to Overcome the thought-traps of the enemy, overcome the desolations that threaten to come, we have a power and a glory through the name of Jesus Christ.
A reading from the book of Ezekiel (34:11-12,15-17)
Thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will look after and tend my sheep.
As a shepherd tends his flock when he finds himself among his scattered sheep, so will I tend my sheep. I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered when it was cloudy and dark. I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD. The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy, shepherding them rightly.
As for you, my sheep, says the Lord GOD, I will judge between one sheep and another, between rams and goats.
The Word of the Lord.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (25:31-46)
Jesus said to his disciples:”When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, 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, a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
The Gospel of the Lord
1. Spend 5 minutes in meditation on the Four last Things (death, judgment, heaven and hell). Cultivate an awareness of eternity. Ask the Lord to reveal where you can be more attentive to the things beyond this world and, in meditating on these things, to prepare yourself to suffer discomforts and desolations with hope in His promise of heaven.
2. Pray next about how you are resisting God’s grace and forgiveness in your life. Are there habits or dispositions you cling to that you know you should let go of, but you don’t? Where in your life are you holding Christ at arm’s length? Where do you need a stronger sense of contrition? If you don’t know, ask Our Lord and Our lady to reveal these to you.
3. Do you struggle to translate your intellectual assent to His promises and love to a trust in your heart? Spend some time in conversation with Jesus asking him to confirm in your heart and habits of mind all the promises of the Beatitudes. Meditate on the Cross and on the assurance of His love for you.
4. Where can you practice better hospitality in your life (either in giving or receiving)? What opportunities do you miss in ministering to “the least of these”? Who in your life – stranger, homeless, neighbor, family – is needing you to be a reflection of God’s love, and you can and should be more attentive to?
Follow Fr. VanHeusen at http://ianvanheusen.com