On Christ the King Sunday, we celebrate the return of the King who will come to bring justice, mercy, and balance to a world of disparity. But, for those of us who like to judge others and decide who’s in and who’s out––spoiler alert! Jesus is the only True Judge, and his mercy is a mystery and his justice will satisfy the cravings of those who hunger, shiver, and weep.
The Apostle Paul and the Evangelist Matthew offer us two important perspectives on judgment and human destiny. Paul envisions a God of grace who seeks to reconcile and embrace the whole of humanity and tear down the dividing wall between insiders and outsiders. Paul fought against the religious practice of “works righteousness,” that idea that we can work our way towards salvation through religious rituals or purity laws. Matthew, a Jewish repentant Tax-Collector, teaches us that (while rituals and purity laws won’t save us) we have a moral obligation to be agents of peace, charity, and justice in our world.
By holding these two ideas in tension, we humbly hand Christ the King the keys of judgment and seek to live like the prophet Micah teaches us: with justice, kindness, and humility with our God.