November 26, 2020
by Director of Mission, Mr Geoff Brodie
Last Sunday we celebrated the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. In the introduction from the Missal we read
Neither baptism nor the profession of faith in Christ guarantees our entry into Christ’s kingdom. What is most important is the way we treat the least of Christ’s brothers and sisters. What we do for them we do for Christ. By our care for them, we reveal that our profession of faith at Mass is more than just words.
Let us be very careful about what we mean by the least of Christ’s brothers and sisters. The phrase comes from Sunday’s Gospel when Jesus is explaining how the virtuous have loved Jesus in their life.
“Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.” Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?” And the King will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”
Jesus is not setting out some social structure of people from most important to least important. Rather, Jesus is inviting us into the fulfilment of life that comes from responding to the God-given dignity of every person: Let us give freely in love for the sake of the God who is love. In and through love, what this world often regards as least is revealed as the invitation into God’s eternal kingdom of love. This invitation has been there for each of us since the foundation of the world. It is a matter of recognising, understanding, and accepting this perfect and perfecting invitation.
Our VCAL students have accepted the invitation by calling for and gathering donations of food, gifts and money for Ballarat’s St Vincent de Paul Society. The Society continues to seek out the ‘least’ in our community and respond to the dignity of every person, and St Patrick’s College has a history of supporting the work of the Society. Long may it continue, for the Society offers a clear vision to our young men about what true greatness looks like in this world. This greatness is the King of the Universe born helpless in a stable. This greatness is Jesus crucified on the Cross. The world may regard these as moments of little importance in the grand scheme of events, but our Christian faith understands them to be revelation of our fulfilment. In this strange and challenging year, our VCAL students have shown us what Jesus’ kingdom looks like in 2020. May we be grateful for their effort and follow their example of love.