Christ the King Year A
The Commentaries Summarised
As a Church we are in a web of wisdom that comes to us both from tradition and contemporary writers. This section offers a summary of some commentaries on the Gospel. Also below is a list of the books and articles that have been consulted in compiling this Sunday's "Pray As You Can" and which could be used for further reading.
This Sunday's Commentary
This dramatic Gospel reading is the last piece of teaching Jesus gives in the Gospel of Matthew. It is the culmination of an apocalyptic section that, while warning us to be conscious of the final judgement ‘at the end of time’, actually focuses on how we should live in the present. It comes after three parables of warning; the conscientious steward, the ten bridesmaids and the teaching on the talents. While each of these parables warned us to be alert and ready at all time, it did not specify what we should do. The scene of Judgment does. If we are to be recognised by Christ as his own at the end of time, we must serve the weakest in our midst now. The mercy that we wish to receive must flow through us towards all, especially the marginalised.
The peculiar feature of this teaching is that neither group of people, the just nor the unjust ‘recognised’ Jesus in the marginalised. That is understandable concerning the unjust but not for the just. Perhaps the answer to this seeming anomaly may be found back in that first piece of teaching Jesus gave in this Gospel: the Beatitudes. There, in a truly mystical teaching, the disciples were exhorted to embrace a number of dispositions that ‘our world’ despises or rejects: poverty of spirit, gentleness, mourning, hunger and thirst, mercy, purity, peacemaking, persecution. As people embrace such a transforming spirit they embrace others in humility and love. The capacity to make distinctions between themselves and others falls away. They become like Jesus, the Son of God, who came and identified himself with our humanity. The circle of love that followed from God flows through them to others and returns for God. So caught up in that love they do not recognise that they are doing anything special. They are just living as Jesus intended - with Immanuel – God with us.