Sunday, 20 November 2011
Today is the feast day of “Christ the King” and last day in the Church’s year. The Scripture readings are on how Jesus as the Good Shepherd” of his sheep judges us at the end of this journey we call our “life” and is consequently an important one to fully appreciate. Here He outlines the fundamental laws upon which our eternity will be determined, in quite stark terms (Matthew 25:31-46).
I believe this message is particularly enhanced when taken with another verse of Scripture that says “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters” (Luke 11:23). The crux of the message can be interpreted to mean that our destiny is decided by the contrasting states of our hearts, being either full of compassion for people’s well-being and for social justice or full of contempt for your neighbour’s existence, for more self-centred reasons, e.g. greed.
This is dramatically and objectively symbolised in modern today terms through Thomas Keneally’s book “Schindler’s List” adapted by Steven Spielberg into film, based on historical facts in a period of particular anti-Semitic brutality during World War II.
The cold-blooded hatred by a nation’s community towards its ethnic minorities is disturbingly alarming. This is contrasted with hope beautifully, through the compassion shown by Oscar Schlinder, who eventually repents from his sinful ways and works against his Nazi party’s sinister agenda. When he decides to save as many of God’s chosen people he can by using his power and wealth obtained through political favour to make a difference for the sake of God’s righteousness and not against it.
This point is especially emphasised with the scene where as the Jews in Kraków are forced into the ghetto, a little girl on the street cries out, “Good-bye, Jews,” over and over again. She represents the open hostility often shown the Jews by their countrymen. After all, the little girl did not contain this hatred naturally—she learned it. Through her, Spielberg sends the message that the evil of the “final solution” infected entire communities. This is reinforced by another scene where bystanders knowingly wave at the cattle trains filled with despairing souls as they are mercilessly transported to the death camps to meet their presupposed fate.
Applying the Gospel verses to this gruesome scenario of injustice presents an irony unknowing to the misguided, is that they might as well be venting their rage and anger upon a mirror! By remaining unrepentant, they take the risk of God turning the table upon themselves and returning the gesture on judgement day for their lack of faith in all that is Goodness and Truth.
Consequently the underlying message given to us on this special day to commemorate Christ's Majesty is that we should constantly cultivate and tend to our hearts with acts of compassion, similar to that of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) and only then we will merit the full blessings and promises of God and thus avoid the total loss of His love and mercy we take each day for granted.