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All Hail, King Jesus!


This Sunday, November 26th, makes the end of the Christian year. Yes, we still have a few more weeks left in the secular calendar, but our liturgical year ends tomorrow and next week shifts to Advent. We have been reading from Jesus’ Mount of Olives discourse over the last few weeks and now Jesus closes with the famous judgment scene of the sheep and the goats.


Some refer to this closing story of the Olivet discourse as a parable, but our patron saint, John Chrysostom sees it in a fuller light, as a reality to be revealed:


[Jesus] does not say that the coming kingdom is compared to this or that, as he has been speaking previously, but now openly shows himself to be the Son of man, who “shall come in his glory.” If he has up to now appeared in a condition of dishonor, now he appears in a different role. He reproaches. He confronts. He sits upon his throne of glory (John Chrysostom, The Gospel of Matthew, Sermon 79.1).


The idea of a king who will reproach and confront us should make us uncomfortable. As Americans, we tend to prefer “rugged individualism” to the idea of kings dispensing justice. Most of us probably have some sympathy with the closing lines of William Ernest Henley’s poem “Invictus” (Latin for unconquered):


It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.


Yet, here we are, on the last Sunday of the year, faced with the Son of Man (Jesus’ term for himself) coming in glory, sitting on a throne, and judging the world. I can say, “I am the master of my fate” all day long, but in the end, all will face the Great Assize. When that moment comes, it would be better to utter Dorothy Day’s reworking of Henley’s poem that she titled, “Conquered”:


I have no fear though straight the gate: He cleared from punishment the scroll. Christ is the Master of my fate! Christ is the Captain of my soul!


We invite you to join us this Sunday, as we rejoice in Jesus, our Savior and King.


Jerry+

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