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Where will you lead me, Lord, this year?

Sunday’s celebration of the Solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, concludes the liturgical year. This past year we were led by St. Matthew, the Evangelist. According to the book of the Gospel written by him, we followed the story of Jesus, the Lord and Savior who leads us to the Kingdom of God. Chapter after chapter that we read during the Sunday Masses, we came to know Jesus – a true man, a true God – better and better. In the new liturgical year, the baton in the race for salvation is given to St. Mark. We will now hear His Gospel during the Sunday celebrations in most of 2024. So, we deeply thank St. Matthew for his assistance and are looking forward for a new guide and witness – St. Mark, who was an assistant of St. Peter, the Apostle.

This Sunday Jesus portrays with prophetic certainty His own glorious return at the end of time as Judge and King. Jesus becomes the Shepherd King who separates the sheep from the goats in the definitive act of the creation of the Kingdom. Those who allowed themselves to be “crucified” with Christ (separated by a mystical death and separated from their old selves) have put on the life of the risen Christ. They now have the capacity to enter the fullness of God’s Kingdom, His love. Only Christ living within us can lead us into God’s Heart and unite our life with God. On this journey to Him, God sets high standards while other gods can afford to be indulgent and innocuous. These gods can afford this because they are dead.

Jesus’s judgment at the end of times will be final without a possibility for an appeal. The appeal option exists only during our earthly life. During this life we can appeal again and again, that is, we can repent again and again and convert ourselves to the Truth. Later, we can only show the account of our life to the Lord.

At the time of the Final Judgment at the end of human history, the Omnipotent King of Glory reveals himself shockingly to have previously existed in our midst as an anonymous and needy person: for I was hungry… Those who recognized Him in other people and acted with love and charity will hear consoling words that come out of the King’s mouth: “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!”  This invitation reveals all the joy of the Heart of the King who finally sees the toil of all His work completed. Was this not what God intended from the very beginning of creation and throughout the long labor of redemption: to share with his creatures, from His freedom and generosity, the superabundant life of the Trinity? There is no more forceful way of expressing the extent to which God has ardently desired to share with us everything He is and everything He has.

Fr. Mark Jurzyk