Solemnity of Christ the King (A)
November 26, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.








Almighty ever-living God,
whose will is to restore all things
in your beloved Son, the King of the universe,
grant, we pray,
that the whole creation, set free from slavery,
may render your majesty service
and ceaselessly proclaim your praise.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading Ez 34:11-12,15-17 1 

Thus says the Lord GOD:
I myself will look after and tend my sheep. 
As a shepherd tends his flock
when he finds himself among his scattered sheep,
so will I tend my sheep.

I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered
when it was cloudy and dark. 
I myself will pasture my sheep;
I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD. 

The lost I will seek out,
the strayed I will bring back,
the injured I will bind up,
the sick I will heal,
but the sleek and the strong I will destroy,
shepherding them rightly.

As for you, my sheep, says the Lord GOD,
I will judge between one sheep and another,
between rams and goats.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 23:1-2,2-3,5-6 

R/. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose.

Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me in right paths
for his name's sake. R/.

You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows. R/.

Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come. R/.

Second Reading 1 Cor 15:20-26,28

Brothers and sisters:
Christ has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 
For since death came through man,
the resurrection of the dead came also through man.
For just as in Adam all die,
so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,
but each one in proper order:
Christ the firstfruits;
then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ;
then comes the end,
when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father,
when he has destroyed every sovereignty
and every authority and power. 

For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 
The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
When everything is subjected to him,
then the Son himself will also be subjected
to the one who subjected everything to him,
so that God may be all in all.

Alleluia Mk 11:9,10

Gospel Mt 25:31-46 

Jesus said to his disciples:
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him. 
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 
Then the king will say to those on his right,
'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. 
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 

For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.'
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink? 

When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you? 
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'
And the king will say to them in reply,
'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Then he will say to those on his left,
'Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.'
Then they will answer and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?'
He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.'

And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life."

Catena Nova

Come, you who fostered my love, for I am love. Come, you who shared peace, for I am peace. Come, my Father’s blessed ones, inherit the kingdom prepared for you” who did not make an idol of wealth, who gave alms to the poor, help to orphans and widows, drink to the thirsty, and food to the hungry. Come, you who welcomed strangers, clothed the naked, visited the sick, comforted prisoners, and assisted the blind. Come, you who kept the seal of faith unbroken, who were swift to assemble in the churches, who listened to my Scriptures, longed for my words, observed my law day and night, and like good soldiers shared in my suffering because you wanted to please me, your heavenly King....Come now, all of you, “inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world….” enjoy for ever the gift of my heavenly Father, and of the most holy and life-giving Spirit (Hippolytus of Rome).

Dearest brothers and sisters, you who are prepared to fear the Lord, and have already rejected and spurned the world, raised your minds to celestial and divine matters, and made yourselves deserving through complete faith, a devout mind, and continuous good works, let us offer our worship to God. Let us give Christ earthly clothes to receive celestial ones; let us give him earthly food and drink, to join Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the heavenly feast. Let us sow abundantly so that our harvest will not be small. Let us look to our eternal safety and well-being while there is time, as the Apostle Paul urges us to do, saying: Therefore while we have time let us do whatever is for the good of all, but especially for the members of the faith. But let us not grow weary of doing good; for in its own time we shall reap our reward (St. Cyprian of Carthage).


By nature, each one of us
is enclosed, in their own personality
but supernaturally, we are all one. 
We are made one body in Christ
because we are nourished by one flesh. 
As Christ is indivisible, we are all one in Him. 
Therefore, He asked His Father 
“that they may all be One, as We also are one.”

We have passed over the waves 
of this present life like a sea,
with its commotion and insane bustle. 
We have eaten spiritual manna, 
the bread that came down from heaven 
giving life to the world.

Christ, has dominion over all creatures,
a dominion not seized by violence
nor usurped but His,
by essence and by nature.

The mark of Christ’s sheep 
is their willingness to hear and obey, 
just as disobedience 
is the mark of those who are not His.
We take the word ‘hear’ 
to imply obedience 
to what has been said.

We must note, therefore,
that they who do things pleasing to God,
serve Christ but they who follow their own wishes,
are followers, rather of themselves and not of God.

Our lives are all controlled by the Spirit now
and are not confined to this physical world
that is subject to corruption.
The light of the Only-begotten has shone on us
and we have been transformed into the Word,
the source of all life.

(St. Cyril of Alexandria)

O King of glory, and Lord of all kings! oh, how Thy kingly dignity is not hedged about by trifles of this kind! Thy kingdom is for ever. We do not require chamberlains to introduce us into Thy presence. The very vision of Thy person shows us at once that Thou alone art to be called Lord. Thy Majesty is so manifest that there is no need of a retinue or guard to make us confess that Thou art King…. O my Lord! O my King! who can describe Thy Majesty? It is impossible not to see that Thou art Thyself the great Ruler of all, that the beholding of Thy Majesty fills men with awe. But I am filled with greater awe, O my Lord, when I consider Thy humility, and the love Thou hast for such as I am. We can converse and speak with Thee about everything whenever we will; and when we lose our first fear and awe at the vision of Thy Majesty, we have a greater dread of offending Thee,--not arising out of the fear of punishment, O my Lord, for that is as nothing in comparison with the loss of Thee! (St. Teresa of Avila).

There are all those who will discover that their neighbor is Jesus himself, although they belong to the mass of those who do not know Christ or who have forgotten Him. And nevertheless they will find themselves well loved. It is impossible for any one of those who has real charity in his heart not to serve Christ. Even some of those who think they hate Him, have consecrated their lives to Him; for Jesus is disguised and masked in the midst of men, hidden among the poor, among the sick, among prisoners, among strangers. Many who serve Him officially have never known who He was, and many who do not even know His name, will hear on the last day the words that open to them the gates of joy. "O, Those children were I, and I those working men. I wept on the hospital bed. I was that murderer in his cell whom you consoled."  (Francois Mauriac)
The key feature of blessedness is that it involves living a deliberately chosen and cultivated sort of life which is not involved in the power and violence of the world, and which because of this fact, makes the ones living it immensely vulnerable to being turned into victims. That is the center of the ethic as taught by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount....In the famous passage of the last judgement, the judgement is defined not in terms of belonging to this or that group, or believing this or that dogma. The judgement is presented in terms of the human relationships towards victims. Those who hunger, thirst, are naked, sick, or imprisoned. Those who have understood, whether or not they know anything about Jesus, are those who have seen their way out of the self-deception of the world which is blind to its victims, and have reached out to help them (James Alison).

Jesus identifies Himself not only with the king-shepherd, but also with the lost sheep, we can speak of a double identity: the king-shepherd, and also Jesus and the sheep: that is, He identifies Himself with the least and most in need of His brothers and sisters. And He thus indicates the criterion of the judgement: it will be made on the basis of concrete love  given or denied to these persons, because He Himself, the judge, is present in each one of them. He is the judge. He is God and Man, but He is also the poor one, He is hidden and present in the person of the poor people that He mentions: right there….We will be judged on love. The judgement will be on love, not on feelings, no: we will be judged on works, on compassion that becomes nearness and kind help. Have I drawn near to Jesus present in the persons of the sick, the poor, the suffering, the imprisoned, of those who are hungry and thirsty for justice? Do I draw near to Jesus present there? This is the question for today. (Pope Francis)


        Wednesday marked the 60th anniversary of a national trauma, the effects of which remain with us — the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  Added to the usual retrospectives and documentaries were any number of new ones dealing with the endless arguments about what really happened that day in Dallas.  I doubt we'll ever know for sure,  but one thing is certain — the end of "Camelot" is seared into the American psyche forever: that fabled notion of how once upon a time there was a Golden Age in America, presided over by a couple as good and glamorous as King Arthur and Queen Guinevere could ever be.   And it all came to an end when a bullet shattered Camelot to pieces.  All this despite the evidence we now possess that it was all just a carefully orchestrated myth to begin with.

        You do have to wonder, though, what the fascination with royalty is all about in this country, from the remarkable coverage given to the death of Queen Elizabeth, to providing refuge for Prince Harry and Meghan to the fealty shown to our substitute royalty in the form of rich and famous celebrities.  Taylor Swift might as well be a princess!  Add to that the regal expectations we place on our presidents, including the most unworthy claimants to the throne.  It seems something deep inside us longs for Avalon, Eden, Utopia as if any could be the City of God.  We yearn, moreover, for someone who’ll take us to, and keep us in, such a Promised Land — no matter how many false Messiahs have led us astray in the past.

In this same week past we relived another national myth on which this nation was founded during which we reminded ourselves how God entrusted to us the great gift of freedom, a gift that calls forth responsibility and commitment to the truth that all have a fundamental dignity before [him](cf. Preface for Thanksgiving Day) – including the dignity of Native Peoples who might well have been less thankful than the rest of us on Thursday. Still, such reminders about our responsibility for human welfare should strike deep chords in our collective imagination, giving us a continued sense of identity and purpose as a people.
And yet, for us who claim Christ as our Sovereign, these impulses of the human heart, however noble, must remain in their proper perspective. For all created things are subject to his rule . . . an eternal and universal kingdom, a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love, and peace (Preface). So no nation, no political system, no earthly ruler,  may ever be confused or compared with Christ and his Reign. For this Shepherd-King recognizes no boundaries, favors no party, and honors no treaty.  Indeed, when the Son of Man comes in his glory (G), when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, [Christ] will destroy every sovereignty and every authority, and power (cf. II).  Including our own.
Before that happens, however, all the nations will be assembled before him (G).  And please note, the gospel says that the judgment, the separation one from another, of the sheep from the goats, (G) will take place according to nation. We sometimes miss that detail in the parable we hear today.  We tend to think only of the particular judgment we will face individually after death, forgetting the general judgement we will experience as members of a people and nation.


You see, on judgment day, there’ll be reserved seating.  There’ll be a section for the ancient peoples of Rome and Greece, of Egypt and Babylon. The leaders of nations will be there too: the Caesars and Pharaohs, the Sultans and Sho-guns.  Their latter-day counterparts will be there as well, from Europe and Asia, and the New World too.  With their kings and prime ministers, their dictators and heads of state.  We’ll be there too, in the place set aside for America, with Washington and Lincoln, Roosevelt and Kennedy, when all shall be brought to life (cf. II).  And don’t forget the Mexicans and Sudanese, the Iroquois and Sioux, the Israelis and Palestinians, the Yemenis and Saudis, the Russians and the Ukrainians.  They’ll be there too.


And all that will matter to the Judge that Day will be how the nations cared for each other: the favor shown by the fed and the sated to the hungry and thirsty; by the shel­tered and clothed to the homeless and naked; by the healthy and free to the sick and imprisoned.  In other words, what we did to the least of Christ’s kin, that we’ll have done unto him.  Thus will the nations be separated one from another.
For the despised and neglected of this world are the vice-regents of Christ the King, those who wear the royal insignia of his passion, his crown of thorns.  And he will rescue them from every place where they are scattered, where it is cloudy and dark (cf. I).  So as we reflect on the past week in America, we hope and pray to be found worthy to enter with the least into the kingdom prepared from the creation of the world, (G) so to live and reign with Christ, the only Lord, forever and ever. Amen.

Intercessions (Joe Milner)

For the Church: that we may recognize Christ in one another and honor the dignity of each person whom God has called to life.

For all leaders of Christian communities: that they may be shepherds like Jesus who gather the lost, bind up the injured, and encourage the weak so that all may know the fullness of life.

For dynamic faith: that in times of chaos and confusion, we may be confident that Christ will defeat all evils, including death, and lead us to the fullness of life with God.

For the suffering, forgotten, and marginalized in society: that God will shepherd them, heal their wounds, lead them to fuller and more fruitful lives.

For all who work to relieve the suffering of others, particularly relief workers: that they may show God’s compassionate care and be strengthened by God’s Spirit each day.

For world leaders: that their hearts may comprehend the depth of human suffering that exists and urgently strive to address the needs for food, clean water, safety, and healthcare for the human family.

For all who have experienced violence or abuse: that God will heal their spirits, free them from fear and help them to live life fully.

For all who are sick: that God will heal them, give strength to those who care for them, and preserve the human family from suffering and death.

Almighty God, you have conferred upon Christ Jesus sovereignty over every age and nation.  Direct us, in the love of Christ, to care for the least of his brothers and sisters, that we may be subject to his dominion and receive the inheritance of your kingdom. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Offertory Anthem (Franz Schubert)


Where thou reignest, King of glory, throned in everlasting light, In thy courts no more is needed sun by day nor moon by night. Soon may we those portals enter, when this earthly strife is o’er, There to reign with Saints and Angels in thy presence evermore.

Praise to God the eternal Father, praise to God the eternal Son, Praise to God the eternal Spirit, One in Three and Three in One. Honour, praise, thanksgiving, blessing now and evermore be done; God most holy, we adore thee, ever-blessed Trinity.

Communion Antiphon


Closing Hymn (Vaughan Williams)


The King of love my Shepherd is,
Whose goodness faileth never,
I nothing lack if I am His
And He is mine forever.

Where streams of living water flow
My ransomed soul He leadeth,
And where the verdant pastures grow,
With food celestial feedeth.

Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
But yet in love He sought me,
And on His shoulder gently laid,
And home, rejoicing, brought me.

In death’s dark vale I fear no ill
With Thee, dear Lord, beside me;
Thy rod and staff my comfort still,
Thy cross before to guide me.

Thou spread’st a table in my sight;
Thy unction grace bestoweth;
And O what transport of delight
From Thy pure chalice floweth!

And so through all the length of days
Thy goodness faileth never;
Good Shepherd, may I sing Thy praise
Within Thy house forever.