The last Sunday of the Church’s Liturgical Year is the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. The image of Jesus as king is taken from Matthew’s Gospel where Jesus refers to himself as a king who will return in glory at the end of the world (Matthew 25:31-46). Far from being a person of regal stature and immense wealth, the Gospel speaks of Jesus as a very different kind of king.
Jesus, our king, is not rich. He does not dine at sumptuous banquets. Our king is hungry. Maybe you have seen his photo. The one of the skinny little girl with the big eyes. That is our king. Our king is suffering with the millions of people in the world who have no food to eat. He does not live in a palace, he does not even have a house. He is living with people on the streets of cities worldwide who have no place to live. We can find him in refugee camps that are filled with those who have been displaced by their own governments. He might even live next door to us with the new family who just moved in and would love an invitation to dinner.
Our king has no royal garments. In fact, sometimes he has no clothes of his own. His shoes are full of holes and his coat is ragged from so much exposure to the elements. Our king is ill and in the hospital or the nursing home with those who have COVID 19 with no one permitted to visit him. Or he is not in the hospital at all because he has no insurance and no way to pay the medical bills. Our king understands the limitations on in-person visits these days and welcomes more than ever our prayers for each other.
This different kind of king of ours is even in prison. He is with thousands of political prisoners in the world whose only offense is working on behalf of those being persecuted or oppressed by their governments. He is with those who are innocent or have been wrongfully accused. He is even living among the guilty. He is not too weak or proud to offer forgiveness, even hope, to the accused. Remember our king once hung on a cross between two criminals.
Our King is hungry, homeless, cold, ill and in prison. We may encounter him this very day. What will we do when we see him?
Together in faith,
Very Rev. Christopher Smith, Rector