By: Fr. Sylvanus E. AMEH

Readings: Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17; Psalm 23; 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28; Matthew 25:31-46

The 1920s saw a rise in nationalism and secularism. There was an increased rejection of religion and religious influences. Society rejected God more and more, and this trend was creeping into the Church. There was therefore, the danger of having a secularized Church.

To curtail this, Pope Pius XI established the Feast of Christ the King in 1925 in his encyclical, Quas Primas. One of the principal goals of the Feast was (and still is) to remind the Church and the world that all power belongs to and comes from God in Christ Jesus. Scripture says “For in Him were all things created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities” (Col 1:16). The Feast of Christ the King thus reminds us that God is our true ruler and we must all submit our hearts, our homes, our institutions, our Church and our world to his authority. And the end of time, all powers and authorities ever wielded here on earth will be subject to Jesus and submitted to him, for “at the name of Jesus, every knee must bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is the Lord” (Phil 2:10).

In synopsis, the readings of today’s Mass also point us to this perspective. The first reading tells us that though God has put leaders in charge of his people, many of these leaders have failed in their respective responsibilities. But God is our true leader who will never fail. From the psalm, we deduce that when we have good leaders, things will go well for the people; thus, good leadership brings about abundance in all fronts. Saint Paul tells us in the second reading that the kingdoms of the world will fail, as indeed history has shown, but the kingdom of Christ will never fail, and his reign brings life to all who subject themselves to his Lordship, just as we heard in the psalm also. And the gospel reading admonishes us that though Jesus is the king of mercy, he is also the king of justice, and he will judge and reward us all accordingly when he returns at the end of time.

There is a lesson in this Feast for all leaders, a lesson to discharge all leadership duties with diligence. And we are all leaders in different ways, so this applies to us all. In the book of the prophet Ezekiel (First Reading), God takes up the imagery of Shepherd-King. Leaders are supposed to be like shepherds who look after their sheep. God condemned Israel’s leaders for being bad shepherds (Ezek 34:1-10) and a similar fate awaits all those who tow the same line of bad shepherds. When God puts us in a position of authority and responsibility, we must strive to discharge our roles faithfully or stand the risk of being condemned.

To be able to serve diligently as good shepherds, we must heed the word of the apostle Peter who admonished that “everyone who serves should serve as though everything were done at God’s orders” (1 Pet 4:11). Having this as a guiding principle will sure help us to put God in the picture of our service to those under us. So we should ask ourselves the questions: How well have I led/served? And how well have the people under my leadership fared? Are they better off or worse off? And how much of the authority of God do I allow to guide me in my leadership role? The example of Jesus as the Shepherd-King is set before us as a model of leadership and if we must truly lead, then we must not only learn from him but also submit to his guidance too. As king, he protects, provides and deals justly with his people; as shepherd, he guides, cares for and leads his flock in the paths of abundance and of safety. This is what is expected of all leaders, and as mentioned earlier, we are all leaders in different ways. This too, is why we should be confident to follow Jesus and let him reign in our lives.

Another lesson we take from today’s Feast is that Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead. At birth, Jesus came as the infant king; now, he comes to us as the king of our hearts; at the end of time, he will come as the king of justice and shall reward everyone according to what their conducts deserve, and Like a Shepherd, he shall separate the sheep from the goats. He himself said, “Behold, I am coming soon! I will bring my rewards with me, to give to each person according to what he has done” (Rev. 22:12). Notice that he says each person will be rewarded ‘according to what he has done”. This implies that we are our own judges, for judgment day shall simply be a day of receiving awards, the awards of how we have lived here on earth. This is the point made by the gospel reading of todays’ Mass. And from that gospel text, the criterion for giving the award of eternal life or eternal death shall be quite simple: whatsoever you do to others, you do it to Christ. Therefore, the good we do today will speak for us on the Day of Judgment; in the same vein, the bad we do today will speak against us on the Day of Judgment also. Everyday, God presents us with many opportunities to do good, let us use them. May Jesus the King of peace bless us with his peace. Amen


By: Rev. Fr. Sylvanus AMEH

Readings: Wisdom 6:12-16; Psalm 63; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25:1-13

Living life can be difficult sometimes. Living the Christian life can be even more difficult and this is because through the journey of life, we constantly face situations that require us to make hard judgments. To make a wrong judgment can have very dire consequences, and no one wants that. To be able to make the right judgment, one essential thing is needed: Wisdom! It is on this theme of wisdom, more specifically, divine wisdom, that the Church has asked us to reflect today, and the three readings of today’s Mass speak to us on this subject.

In synopsis, Reading 1 tells us that wisdom is readily available to those who seek her, and in Reading 2, we are told that it is only the truly wise that understand the true destiny of those who have died. Jesus tells us in the gospel that we need wisdom to be ready for our end, for his second coming, and that only the truly wise will be admitted to the festive gathering of heaven.

What therefore, is this wisdom? Wisdom is the trait or the ability to use your knowledge and your experiences to make good decisions or form good judgments; it can also be understood as keen insight into life and ways of dealing with its problems.

How do we get this divine wisdom? Does it come naturally to everyone? Is there something we ought to do to possess it? From all indications from everyday experiences, and more so, from our gospel text of today’s Mass, it is obvious that it is not everyone who possesses divine wisdom. Jesus tells of ten virgins, five of whom were wise and five of whom were foolish. Thus, while everyone has common sense (which made all ten virgins carry lamps), not everyone has wisdom (which made only five virgins carry extra oil). So, how do we get this divine wisdom? I shall present five ways to us.

  • Desire it and pray for it. No one can ever be wise who does not first desire to be wise. And all who desire wisdom seek for her. Part of our first reading says wisdom “is found by those who seek her. She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her” (Wisdom 6:12-13). Because of the indispensability of wisdom in our walk through life and our walk with God, we must desire and seek it. In Proverbs 4:7, the word of God says “Wisdom is the supreme thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.” But it is not sufficient to simply desire wisdom, we must also ask God who owns it and who gives it to give it to us, for the bible says in James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” So, to get wisdom, desire it, and pray for it.
  • Reverence God and keep his Word. Reverence for God and obedience to his precepts is the foundation for all godly wisdom. Proverbs 9:10 says “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” and in Matthew 7:24, Jesus says “Therefore whoever hears these Words of Mine, and keeps them, is like a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.” To be firmly rooted in divine wisdom, we must fear God, we must obey God.
  • Keep company with the wise. To grow in wisdom, you must surround yourself with the wise. Being in the company of the wise is a sure way of maintaining and strengthening yourself in wisdom. Proverbs 13:20 says “He who walks with the wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed” and in I Corinthians 15:33, the word of God tells us that “evil company corrupts good manners.” It is not possible to constantly be in the company of the unwise and expect to grow in wisdom. In 1 Kings 10:1ff, when the Queen of Sheba heard of the wisdom of Solomon, though she was a wise woman, she travelled a long distance to his palace to hear from him, and seeing that he was exceedingly wise, in vs 8, she said, “Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom!” Why did she say so? It is because to be in the company of the wise is to grow in wisdom.
  • Regular Bible study. A major prerequisite for the possession of divine wisdom is the regular study of the Word of God, the Bible. God speaks to us in his word, and his word is the source of all things, including wisdom. Any Christian who is serious about his or her relationship with God and who desires to grow in wisdom must draw daily nuggets of wisdom from the Bible. In Psalm 19:7, scripture says “The commands of the Lord are trustworthy, giving wisdom to those who lack it.”
  • Constantly think about your end. To constantly keep our death, our end in sight, is a sure path to growing in wisdom. This is one of the directions to which Jesus points our thoughts in the gospel text. After all the talk about wisdom and folly in the parable of the virgins, Jesus ended by saying, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” In Psalm 90:12, the Bible says “Teach us how short our life is, that we may become wise.” Realizing the brevity of life and keeping it in view helps us to avoid some of the many silly mistakes we make in life which we sometimes think we can correct much later; it also helps us to set our priorities right and place greater value on eternal things than on the transient things of this life.

Dear friends, today, the Church is asking us to be people who are wise, people who seek to grow in wisdom, people who help others to be wise. It was wisdom that got some virgins into the banquet feast of the groom, and it was the lack of it that that made some others miss out on the feast. May divine wisdom help us to always stay prepared, so that we may find ourselves inside and not shut out of the feast of heaven.

Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, pray for us!