“The Five-Finger Gospel”
(Fr Regie, MSP)
The Solemnity of Christ the King closes the liturgical calendar of the Ordinary Time. The following week begins the season of Advent anticipating the great feast of the coming of the Son of God, the mystery of incarnation, of the Word made flesh, of the presence of God in humanity through Jesus Christ. This King uttered these words in our Gospel this Sunday (Matthew 25:31-46), “I assure you, as often as you did it for one of my least brothers (and sisters), you did for me.” “You-did-it-for-me.” Mother Teresa of Calcutta was deeply touched by these words of Jesus that all throughout her life as a Missionary of Charity she served her King and master who said these words to her and to all of us. She championed in the world this beautiful image of a five-finger Gospel.
She said one time, “Our work for the poor is so real so beautiful because if our heart is pure we can see, we can touch Jesus twenty-four hours because He has made it so clear: “Whatever you do to the least of my brethren - You-did-it-to-Me. The Gospel in our five fingers- that is why we need that deep life of prayer- that will help us to grow in that intimate and personal love for Jesus and complete attachment to Him - so that our sisters and our poor can see Jesus in us, His love, His compassion.” She knew very well what poverty really means and why Jesus is thirsting for us to satisfy him, to serve him as a King who first of all offered his life on the cross as a service, as a work for our salvation. See that beautiful picture of the Good Shepherd in our first reading (Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17), “I will tend my sheep. I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered when it was cloudy and dark…pasture…give them rest…seek out…bind up…heal the sick.”
Mother Teresa reminds the world, however that poverty is not only material, the hardest one is poverty of love. She said, “It is always the same Christ who says: I was hungry - not only for food but for peace that comes from a pure heart. I was thirsty - not for water but for peace that satiates the passionate thirst of passion for war. I was naked - not for clothes, but for that beautiful dignity of men and women for their bodies. I was homeless - not for a shelter made of bricks but for a heart that understands, that covers, that loves.” This is the most challenging ones to address especially when our hearts are hardened with greed, selfishness and pride. The exact antithesis of love is not hatred but indifference. This is what happened to a group of people Jesus referred in our Gospel. It is sheer insensitivity and indifference to others especially to the needy and suffering. Our self-centeredness blinds us to look beyond that there are so many who are hungry, thirsty, abandoned, naked not only for material food but also for love. They say that we can only give what we have. This is the reason why we must come to the one who loved us first, who has shared his love when God created us and even when we fall he never cease to love us in Jesus Christ who died for us. This is God’s infinite mercy and love who never tires to invite us back to Himself.
Saint Paul in the second reading (1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28) reiterates that at the end of time Christ will come as a King over all, “When, after having destroyed every sovereignty, authority, and power, will hand over the kingdom to God the Father. Christ must reign until God has put all enemies under his feet, and the last enemy to be destroyed is death. When, finally, all has been subjected to the Son, he will then subject himself to the One who made all things subject to him, so that God may be all in all.” The ultimate criterion of judgment Jesus proposed in the Gospel narrative is the measure in which we love others especially the poor, the weak, and the vulnerable. For whatever we do to them, we do it for Jesus. This is simply the five-finger Gospel!