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The King’s Family

Christ the King Sunday, completing Year A in our RCL calendar of readings, has the last section of Matthew 25 as its Gospel reading: the depiction of a glorified Christ summoning all the nations of the world to a final reckoning. His definitive judgement has one criterion: how each person has treated the lowliest of those he regards as his own family, which is how they have in effect treated him. Have they shown compassion to those in need, or simply neglected their responsibilities to perform deeds of compassion?
This reading usually makes an annual appearance, at least among Anglicans in New Zealand, on Social Services Sunday, where it is used as a motivator to support the corporate works of charity of our church. Hmmmm…. All of that depends, of course, on our identification of the poor and needy in general as the object of Jesus’ concern in this text. It reads the discourse as a warning to Christians that we had better not neglect the poor, as our eternal destiny depends on how we perform, charitably speaking. The gospels, of course, were written for Christian eyes and ears, but what if this passage is for our encouragement rather than a stern warning? I am by no means the first Christian to ask this question.
You can find my comments here…
Howard Pilgrim

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