Today, as we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, we hear the haunting words of the parable of the Judgment of the Nations. Jesus makes it crystal clear that we are responsible for one another.
Without love the world would be a very dark and dreary place in which to love. Therefore is comes as no surprise that love is at the very core of the Gospel. Jesus said that those who follow him would be recognized by the love they showed for others. In the parable, he makes it known that we will be judged on love. As St. John of the Cross so eloquently stated in the 14th century, “In the evening of life we will be judged on one thing only. How much have we loved?”
To those who are sensitive to the needs of others, life offers countless opportunities to put Christ’s commandment of love into practice. It is not a question of doing great things, nor is it a question of giving things. Rather, it is a question of giving of oneself in little ways, of one’s energy, of one’s time, of one’s love!
True love requires hard work and patience, and often goes unseen and unrecognized. It is a way of life which seeks nothing at all except the good of the other person. Love is an openness to sharing the burdens of others, of being a companion on the journey. As Pope Francis has told us, “We are to accompany one another.”
When we love unselfishly we become agents of God’s love. We also become witnesses to Christ’s continuing love for, and presence among, our sisters and brothers. As Jesus stated in the parable, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers or sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Christ not only gave his followers the commandment to love, but he lived it. Throughout his public ministry Jesus took on the role of servant, giving of himself unselfishly, especially to the poor, the outcasts, those on the margins of society. Finally, he gave his life for all people. Calvary is the greatest act of love the word has known. It was love that saved the world.
To close one’s heart is to begin to die. To open one’s heart is to begin to live. To live the parable is to live a life of love. In doing so, one can be assured of hearing the words of Jesus at death, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
– Father Dennis, November 22, 2020