Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Sunday Readings


The Solemnity of Christ the King; Cycle A

November 26, 2023

Readings: Exodus 34:11-12, 15-17; 1st Corinthians 15:20-26, 28; Matthew 25:31-46

Received and Delivered: the Handing of the Words of Life

Chapter 15 of First Corinthians deals with an absolutely fundamental point of revelation.  St. Paul writes at the beginning of this chapter: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas [Peter], then to the twelve” (1st Cor. 15.3-4).

These words, “received” and “delivered” explain the nature of the living Tradition of Revelation.  The Church infallibly receives Revelation from the Apostles and delivers the fullness of this Revelation to each generation until the Second Coming of Christ when Jesus will be the Light itself in its fullness.

The Particular Reality of Christ Jesus

This Second Reading from Chapter 15, cited above, deals with this particular content of Revelation:  It is the historical fact of Christ Jesus’ having died in the pattern of humanity’s death.  As children of the one set of parents, Adam and Eve, we suffer death of the body; and we experience the spiritual death of our sins.  Jesus is innocent of sin, being the Son of the Father, sharing in the divinity of the Triune God as the Second Person, but Jesus experienced death, being born a man within the human race.

Jesus is constitutively related to every individual human being in his or her struggle with spiritual death and physical death.  Christ is the “first fruits” of victory in this matter of death.  Christ Jesus by the very essence of his being God and Man, in his Person as Son of God, rose up from death into the transformed life of humanity glorified.

The Life-giving Drama of Christ’s Imparting Eternal Life

The drama of salvation has been interwoven into every age and culture, from the beginning of time until the end.  Christ reigns in every instance.  Whatever may be the cultural-historical context of humanity, Christ Jesus is King.  The Lord Jesus is sovereign because in the end, it is in Him that each person can attain the glory of salvation from death. 

It follows, then, that the Buddha is potentially raised up ultimately in Christ; the spiritual masters of all paths find their ultimate destiny in Christ.  Thus Jesus is King.  Thus Christ in His humanity makes the final submission to the Father Who is the Source of Life within the Trinity:  When everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one [the Father] who subjected everything to him [Christ Jesus], so that God may be all in all (from the 2nd Reading).

Every Individual: Personal Identity and Destiny with and in Christ

Jesus as King is totally identified with each individual in his or her journey to resurrection and final victory. So the Gospel Reading very practically spells out this relationship in the concrete circumstances of daily life.  Christ’s Kingship is one with our suffering and one with our assisting others in their suffering.  Jesus is related to the one who is hungry and to the one who feeds hungry.  All will be judged in the summing-up of the last judgment where Christ’s Kingship will be manifested. These will go off to eternal punishment and the just to eternal life.

The First Reading gives the starting-point for the parable of the Gospel. 

As for you, my sheep, says the Lord God, I will judge between one sheep and another, between rams and goats.

God’s mercy will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured will bind up, the sick I will heal, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy, shepherding them rightly.

The Second Reading proclaims the fullness of Christ Jesus as king of the whole creation.  The Lord is the full agent of full redemption, the summing up all the story of humanity.

When everything is subject to him, the the Son himself will also be subjectedto the one who subjected everything to him, SO THAT GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL.

The Gospel Reading begins with the Kingship of Christ Jesus:

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and al lthe angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him.

The prayer after Communion:

Having received the food of immortality, we ask, O Lord, that glorying in obedience to the commands of Christ, the King of the universe, we may live with him eternally in his heavenly Kingdom.

--William Fredrickson, (OblSB; D.Min.)