On this last Sunday of the liturgical year, we proclaim what Pope Francis calls the “Great Criterion” (“Gaudete et Exsultate,” 95) from Matthew’s Gospel. True discipleship is not an ideology or piety into which we retreat from the world, never getting our hands dirty with other people’s lives.
Rather, those recognized by the Son of Man are the ones who showed mercy wherever they saw a need: “Jesus affirms that mercy is not only an action of the Father, it becomes a criterion for ascertaining who his true children are. . . . Love, after all, can never be just an abstraction. By its very nature, it indicates something concrete: intentions, attitudes, and behaviors that are shown in daily living” (“Misericordiae Vultus,” 9).The liturgy is a window into Christ’s reign happening now and our rehearsal for living that reign each day of our lives. Click To Tweet
The liturgy we celebrate, the music we sing and prayers we offer, the ritual actions of bowing, kneeling, lifting hands, embracing, greeting—these are not metaphors for a life to come when Christ reigns over all.
The liturgy is a window into Christ’s reign happening now and our rehearsal for living that reign each day of our lives. As we prepare to enter a new liturgical year, let us make a new year’s resolution. Let us live every moment of our lives as an act of worship, showing mercy as Jesus did in praise to the Father.