Today's Jesus speaks to us of the definite judgment. And with this metaphoric image about sheep and goats, He makes us realize that it will be a judgment of love. «We shall be judged on love», St. John of the Cross tells us.
St. Ignatius of Loyola, another mystic, in his meditation Contemplation to Attain Love, also reminds us “that love is proven not in words but in actions”. And today's Gospel is very illustrative of this fact. Every act of charity we perform, we do it to the very Christ: «For I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me into your house. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came to see me» (Mt 25:34-36). Even more so: «Whenever you did this to these little ones who are my brothers and sisters, you did it to me» (Mt 25:40).
This evangelic passage, which keeps our feet on solid ground, places the feast of Christ the King in its proper place. Christ's royalty has nothing to do with arrogance, but it simply is the fundamental reality of existence: love will have the last word.
Jesus shows us that the true meaning of his royalty —or authority— lies upon service to others. He claimed to be ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master’ (cf. Jn 13:13), and also that He was a King (cf. Jn 18:37), but he practiced his leadership by washing his disciples' feet (cf. Jn 13:4 ff.), and He reigned by giving his life on the Cross. First, Jesus Christ reigns from a humble cradle (in a lonely manger!) and, afterwards, from a very uncomfortable throne, that is, the Cross.
On the Cross there was an inscription that said «Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews» (Jn 19:19): what appearances seem to deny, the profound reality of the mystery of God confirms it, inasmuch Jesus reigns from his Cross and He judges us in love. «We shall be judged on love».