Reflection for Sunday November 22 – Fr. Bob Werth
Readings: Daniel 7: 13-14; Revelation 1:5-8; John 18: 33b-37
Autumn is traditionally regarded as the season of the harvest. We reflect on how God’s blessings overflow across the land.
During our Sunday worship, autumn is the season of spiritual gathering. Liturgically, the spiritual harvest began on August 15th with the Assumption of Mary who was the first person harvested through the redemption of her son. The analogy of the harvest of the faithful is continued through the celebrations of All Saints and All Souls days.
The harvest climaxes today with this Solemnity of the Lord Jesus Christ, the king of the universe. We are reminded with the coming of winter that we all face harvesting as our lives on this earth come to an end. So, let us take some time to reflect on who really is our King. How would you describe him? Over whom is He King? Who is being harvested?
United States citizens might have a difficult time with who this King really is because we associate kings and queens with the two extremes of dictatorship or figurehead. If we go way back in history, we will find that kingship and queenship meant protection, encouraging leadership, balancing of conflicting interests, the guarantee of personal dignity and proud representation among the nations. The good king or queen represented the whole people and cared for the welfare of each citizen, dearly.
The Scriptures today describe our King quite well. Daniel says that one like a Son of man received kingship and that all peoples, languages and nations serve Him. His dominion is everlasting and it shall not be taken away.
The psalmist assures us that the Lord is girt about with strength, has made the world firm and His throne also stands firm.
The Book of Revelation is loaded with our King’s description. Here goes: He is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. He has freed us from our sins by His blood and made us into a kingdom of priests for His God and Father. That’s not all! He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
The Gospel brings our King’s description to completion. “My kingdom does not belong to this world,” Jesus says. “I came into the world to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice,” Jesus continues.
So, who’s in and who’s out? I can assure you it’s not just Catholics and other Christians who are in. Are there not others who belong to the truth? Let’s begin with our Jewish and Muslim sisters and brothers. They, too, are children of Abraham and Sarah and Hagar, our parents in the Faith.
Those who have never heard the Good News will be saved or condemned for how they reached to Christ among the needy. Agnostics and atheists will be judged for what they did to relieve suffering rather than on their religious and philosophical beliefs.
Every single person, without question, is offered salvation through Jesus Christ and will appear before Him for final judgment. We Christians, having heard the Good News are empowered to carry out God’s will. The flip side is because of this privilege of having this revelation we have a special responsibility to do all we can in working for justice.