Reading the address was Monsignor Paolo Braida, a close collaborator of the pope who opened with a reflection on the final judgment of man seen in today’s Gospel.
The “final judgment,” Braida noted, “will be based on charity,” and it is charity that sits at the heart of the solemnity of Christ the King, which was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 with his encyclical Quas Primas.
The address focused on those seated next to Jesus enthroned. It is by looking at them that we can outline the different criteria for those who are with a king, highlighting the difference between a spiritual and worldly logic.
For Jesus, “the blessed,” or the “friends” gathered around him, are not the rich and famous, not the people of a high court, as one would expect of a royal entourage, but rather “they are those who have served the weakest people. This is because the Son of Man is a completely different king, who calls the poor ‘brethren,’ who identifies with the hungry, the thirsty, the outsiders, the sick, the imprisoned.”
In this way Jesus introduces a radically different notion of kingship that does not correspond to worldly logic and associations. Instead, these individuals surrounding Jesus “are those who respond to these forms of poverty with love, with service: not by turning away, but by giving food and drink, clothing, sheltering, visiting; in a word, by being close to those in need.”
In this way, the court of Jesus “the King” who “calls himself the Son of Man” is composed of the community of believers who operate from “compassion, mercy, tenderness.”