November 26, 2023
by Eileen Burke-Sullivan
Creighton University - retired
click here for photo and information about the writer

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Lectionary: 160

Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17
1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28
Matthew 25:31-46

Beginning Advent

Preparing for Advent


Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Prayer in the days before Advent

The Church’s culmination of the Liturgical Year has multiple levels of meaning.  The obvious one of the Glorious ending of time and the judgement of the nations invites us to think of a grand procession into the magnificence of the reality of Christ bringing all the Universe into complex harmony with the Trinity.  This vision might be accompanied by trumpets, harps, a ponderous organ and great booming drums filling us with both terror and joy as we come to the final assembly.

At another level, the readings invite us back to the simplicity of the pasture where the sheep and goats are being gathered in and separated for sending to different pastures, or to their life’s completion as meat.  This is a childhood memory of mine as I grew up on a sheep ranch is Wyoming.  The musical accompaniment to this is more like folksong – with guitars, whistles and simple harmonies.

At still another level we might experience with St. Ignatius of Loyola the “Call of the King” that comes to us once we recognize that we are not God (even if sin led us to try to be our own self-creation) but that we are utterly loved by a God who desires us to share Trinitarian life and love.  This imagination might be filled with a love song, so resonantly sung as to draw each of us toward the beloved in a life of companionship and service for all those He loves. 

It is this third imagination that my heart is drawn to in the final days of our Year of Matthew.

The meditation on the Call of the King is a prayer exercise that falls between the first and second weeks of the Spiritual Exercises that Ignatius experienced and gave to the Church.  The Exercises describe a series of graces that are given by God as the one praying through them is open to the graces.  After discovering and rejecting the patterns of sin attendant on one’s story, God may grant each of us the grace to become a companion with Jesus in his mission.  This is the call of Baptismal surrender.  To become a companion of (or bread breaker with) the Lord of heaven and earth. 

Today’s feast invites us to recognize the task and the glory that this implies.  Christ the King is most clearly seen as the one who lays down his life on the cross for the salvation of all from the slavery of sin.  His glory is also seen in his shepherding work of care for the vulnerable, in his invitation at the death of each person to come home, and his judgement of the nations for their cooperation with His work of bringing joy, peace, freedom and health to every human being as brothers and sisters, not as inferiors or slaves. 

As we complete this Liturgical Year of grace and begin the new one with the Advent yearning to be close to Jesus and his saving grace, we are called by him to collaboration with Him in His saving work.  As we look back on the year past have we grown more into companionship with Jesus?  As we look forward to the coming weeks and months do we want that companionship to expand and grow?

Today is the day to hear his invitation in the state of the world, as well as in the gifts He has given each of us.  The invitation is ever to be part of His mighty work of bringing all humanity to freedom, peace, delight and companionship at the banquet of God’s glory and all of creation to its fullest purpose. 

I want to hear that call this late November day and I want all persons to hear that call and respond with a thrilling shout of yes.  Will you join in the throng going to the Mountain of the Lord by fully accepting the call of the King


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