Bread in the Wilderness

Father Carl Diederichs

All Saints Catholic Church

On Sunday, November 23 we celebrate the Feast of Jesus Christ the King. The Gospel comes from Matthew 25: 31-46, commonly known as the Last Judgement on all of creation. Since we don’t have a king in this country it might be better for us to call this Sunday the “Reign of Christ” Sunday. But even that is a bit remote from our experiences today. One commentator suggests we consider calling it the “Culture of Christ” Sunday. I like that. Let’s consider it, at least.

What would living in the culture of Christ mean? The Gospel reading points us in the right direction. The final judgment, according to Jesus, is about how we treat people, especially poor and disenfranchised people. Not a word about morality, worship, whether we are vegetarians or carnivores, or even whether we broke any of the commandments — it’s about how we treat people, those people who almost always remain invisible to us. The Culture of Christ sees them and cares for them.

What is the Culture of Christ that ought to lead us to service of others? Jesus loved us from his very soul, from his guts, as some say. And we who are in the Culture of Christ must do the same. We love others from the depths of our heart and soul.

And that love will have three characteristics, according to John Shea, a spiritual guide: proactive, uncalculating, and unobtrusive.

Jesus says “do unto others,” He doesn’t say wait and see, but be first. Act. We can sit and ponder, calculate and weigh the cost to us and then do nothing. It happens.   The person could have died before we make up our mind to act!

We are also to act without calculating what we might get out of it. If we give to those who give back, what is that? We will be uncalculating when we become 360 degrees steady, caring. We do not count the cost.

And the Spirit within us gets things done for the poor when we care and share and do not draw any attention to ourselves. No trumpets, no nameplates on buildings, no special mention from the pastor.

So, three important qualities needed to be the protagonist in the story of God’s generosity to us. We respond quickly to the needs presented, we don’t count the cost or hope for a repayment, and we are in our greatest happiness when no one draws attention to us for doing what we are called to do in the “Culture of Christ.”

When the “sheep” are asked how they got to heaven, they will say: We just cared for every person we met, immediately, without calculation and it was no big deal.