«Jesus Christ, universal judge of mercy »… by the Bishop of Córdoba
We come to the last Sunday of the liturgical year, the solemn feast of Christ the King of the universe. This Sunday’s Gospel introduces us to Jesus Christ, who comes to judge the living and the dead. Only God can judge the entire universe, and he has given his Son the power to judge all nations.
In this way the Kingdom of God is made present in the person of Jesus Christ: “He will be great, he will be called Son of the Most High, the Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father; He will reign over the house of Jacob forever and his kingdom will have no end ”(Lk 1, 32-33). On more than one occasion during his earthly life they wanted to acclaim Jesus as king, but he slipped away. He had bailed them out, filled their stomachs, with him they could emancipate themselves from Roman rule, etc. A whole series of human advantages, which could misunderstand the Kingdom of God in the person of Christ. So he sneaks away, he has not come to be king like that, he has not come to be a temporary king. He is the “eternal king”, as Saint Ignatius describes him in his Exercises.
Only at the end of his earthly life does he accept to be proclaimed king, he accepts to be laughed at as “king of the Jews” with a crown of thorns and a reed in his hand as a royal scepter. And before Pilate he openly declares: “You have said it, I am a king.” At that time there is no room for equivocation. With an appearance that did not seem like a man, condemned to death, let them proclaim him king, because here we are before the core of his reign. Jesus Christ reaches his highest expression as king on the Cross, and this is what the title “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews” will indicate, and in his resurrection, “Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2,11) .
His reign will not be a reign of human might, of overwhelming arrogance, of despotic rule. His reign is a reign of truth and life, of holiness and grace, of justice, of love and of peace. A reign that is exercised in service and that leads to giving one’s life for others. A reign in which the powers of evil will be subdued by an overabundance of love.
This reign is exercised by Jesus Christ in the universal judgment, as this Sunday’s Gospel reminds us. He will come glorious, surrounded by his angels, to judge all nations. His judgment will separate the good from the bad, the wheat from the tares, to reward the good and punish the bad. Not everything goes, and everything will come to light without dissimulation or concealment, without lies or concealment. The only question on the final exam will be love. In the evening of life you will be examined of love, Saint John of the Cross teaches us. And in that test of love, all the good that we have done and all that we have failed to do will come to light.
“What you did to one of these my humble brothers, you did to Me” (Mt 25,40). We are before the “great protocol” of holiness, Pope Francis reminds us (GE 95), because “whoever does not love his brother whom he sees cannot love God whom he does not see”, Saint John tells us (1Jn 4.20).
On this page of the final judgment Jesus appears as a merciful king, under whose gaze we have to travel our present life. There is nothing hidden that does not become manifest. And the motive of our actions must be to please God, who will judge us by his Son Jesus Christ at the end of our existence.
Receive my affection and my blessing:
+ Demetrio Fernández, Bishop of Córdoba