Reflections - November 26, 2017

“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”  Mt. 25:40.
Today, the Feast of Christ the King, ends Cycle A of the liturgical year and Cycle B begins next Sunday with the first Sunday of Advent.
The Prophet Ezekiel presents us with the symbol of the Good Shepherd, the Lord, our God, who watches over His sheep:  “I will seek them out and bring them back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal”.  This is the image of a merciful and gracious God who cares for all His children despite our sins.
The Gospel tells us about the coming of the Lord for the second time with his angels:  “and all the nations will be assembled before him”.  This refers to the resurrection of all, Jews and Gentiles, and the trial will be based on the Corporal Works of Mercy towards the weakest, the hungry, the thirty for justice, and the poor.  I would to remind you as we end the liturgical year about the seven Corporal Works of Mercy:
Visit the sick.  Feed the hungry, which by the way there are plenty in our own downtown Miami.  Give drink to the thirsty that ask for justice.  Welcome a stranger.  Clothe the naked by returning to them the fabric of their dignity.  Redeem the captive from the prisons and chains of their souls.  Bury the dead by worrying about the poor who sometimes have no one to help them economically and spiritually face the death of a loved one and this happens in our city.
On this Sunday, at the end of the liturgical year Christ, the Supreme Judge of the Truth, invites us as a Church “to open our eyes”.  Pope Francis says in his Gospel Exhortation:  “We need to become a missionary Church who welcomes”, and given the social characteristics of our city “the wounded sheep who have strayed from the flock”.
Pope Francis repeats to us:  “The ministers of the Church have to smell like sheep”, but also lay people and the pastoral workers, religious men and women, “and they have to get out of the balconies of their towers, to recognize the Christ of love, in those most insignificant”.  We sometimes find young Christian families in crisis that don’t know where to turn.  More information is needed and more Catholic family counselors need to be available in our parishes to welcome and listen to the many families with difficulties. 
Let us pray to Christ, the Lord and King, to give us the spiritual discernment to be “radically available” to work as a missionary Church being instruments of His Kingdom of justice and mercy.  Amen.