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 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.”
— The Gospel of Saint Matthew 25:31-32
The Solemnity of Christ, The King, celebrated in Catholic churches today, should make believers cheer and fear.
Cheer for the eternal triumph of God-made-man. Even if evil pervades much of the world and countless souls, Christ’s kingship promises that good shall eventually overcome, light shall dispel darkness, truth and justice shall reign. If you can believe it.
Fear because the King demands loyalty, obedience and service. Not exactly the easiest thing for today’s humankind, constantly seeking self-gratification, endless enjoyment and personal fulfillment. And flocking to the latest gadgets and gigs.
The Monarch dethroned
Which brings up the headline question: Is Jesus Christ really our God and King?
If one’s answer is ‘yes,’ then here are 10 more questions to see if one’s yes to Christ’s kingship really means yes.
Question No. 1: When we wake up in the morning, do we give thanks to Jesus for another day of life, and offer all our joys, sorrows, thoughts, words and deeds to advance his will? Or do we check Facebook, Twitter, Viber, CNN, and Bloomberg?
Question No. 2: When we sit down for breakfast, lunch, merienda, or dinner, do we thank our Lord and ask his blessing on our food, the people who worked to bring it to our table, our hungry brethren, and, as in the Church of old, the suffering souls in Purgatory? Or do we instantly tuck into our grub without a thought for our God?
Question No. 3: As we read the morning paper, listen to the news, or catch it on TV or online, do we or don’t we care if things happening in our city, our nation and our world abide by or go against the law and will of the Almighty?
Question No. 4: In making decisions, especially on moral issues and life choices, do we pray that God would show us his wish, his wisdom, and his way forward? Or do we just ask what’s in it for me and for those who matter to me?
Question No. 5: If we do something that bothers our conscience, compromises our principles, or hurts our neighbor, do we ask forgiveness from heaven, and grace to make amends, change our ways, and return to his grace? Or do we shrug it off?
If one happens to answer no to most or all of the above, one is certainly not alone and may not even be in the minority. In fact, giving attention to God, let alone paying heed to his word and homage to his majesty, is increasingly unfashionable and even offensive, especially in the advanced West, where religious symbols are barred from public display.
In most organizations where people spend half or more of their waking hours, the vision, mission, objectives and directives they serve and follow rarely have any mention of the Divine, even though most of the enterprise, agency, or institution are believers.
And in many families, praying to God and serving his will are no longer given time or even mention. Instead, the hottest TV or movie blockbuster, the most exciting video game, the funniest Facebook post, and the latest celebrity gossip fill dinnertime banter.
Which brings us to the rest of our questions.
The King enthroned
Question No. 6: Do we make the sign of the Cross, genuflect before the altar, pray the rosary, go to weekday mass, and do other religious practices without feeling ashamed about it, even when our family, friends, schoolmates, and colleagues see us?
Question No. 7: Do we share truths about our religion when others express misimpressions and misgivings about our faith due to their mistaken notions, or do we just let our Lord and his Mystical Body be misrepresented or even maligned?
Question No. 8: Do we kindly point out actions that contradict Christian morals committed by fellow Christians, or do we let them continue in their transgressions just to avoid any resentment or discord?
Question No. 9: Do we stand up for the will and law of God where our voice and view are respected and sought, even if it may disappoint or offend others, or do we shut up and let people hear what they want to hear, rather than what God wants to say?
Question No. 10: When our community, organization or society adopts policies and practices contravening God’s commandments, do we make the effort to resist and oppose the sinful ways, or do we give in to them?
If you’re still with us, you’re probably the one in 20 readers who didn’t turn the page or click another article, caring little for another sermon ahead of or soon after the one in church. For many, Sunday mass is enough, and more than that is overkill.
But for a few, they will make the effort to answer ‘yes’ to more and more of the above questions, and mean it. Starting with morning prayer, they will work their way up to counseling family, admonishing friends, standing up at work or school, and eventually facing snickers, boos and jeers for raising the banner of our King.
They will suffer difficulty, if not defeat. They will be decried and despised. Indeed, they will suffer as our Lord and his followers suffered.
But in the end, they will triumph with our Lord and King. For in their pains for the Son of Man, the sheep are separated from the goats. Amen.