Message of the week

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“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Today we celebrate the feast of an unusual kind of king. Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, does not run his kingdom in the standard fashion. Instead of insisting upon the pomp and circumstance that usually surrounds earthly royalty, Jesus has a different focus. He thinks not of himself, but of those he loves. And in today’s Gospel, his interest is especially focused on the poor and suffering in our midst. Our King asks us to care for those in need — the hungry, the homeless, the foreigner, the sick and suffering. But then, he goes farther; he tells us that in caring for these least brethren, we will be ministering to HIM! What an incredible promise. Not only do we carry out the command to love our neighbor when we protect those in need, but we also show our love for Jesus in a direct and concrete way. This love for Christ through others is so real that Jesus actually tells us that our place on Judgment Day will depend on it: “‘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.” On the other hand, the “righteous” who ministered to the weak and poor will enjoy eternal life. Our King has spoken loud and clear. Now comes the question of whether or not we are obeying his orders? Each of us is called to examine how well we are caring for the least among us. Sometimes, this means giving our time and energy for special ministries or missions, but often it means caring for those right in front of us — the sick or suffering in our own homes, families, neighborhoods, or parishes. Whatever our situation, may we have the eyes to see Christ in our midst and serve him.