Twice in today’s epistle mention is made of the “day of Christ Jesus”. What is this “day”? In the light of the Church’s teaching on the social Kingship of Christ, that is, that He is King of the entire created order and of each person taken individually and of societies as a whole (teaching which, by the way, was reaffirmed by Vatican II), we can say that every day of human history belongs to Jesus as Lord.
And yet, St Paul clearly has in mind here a specific day which still lies in the future. It is what some medieval texts refer to as the Day of Doom or the Day of Wrath (Dies irae), the Day on which He will come to judge the living and the dead. It is the Day on which His sovereign rule over all creation will be solemnly acknowledged by every creature, in Heaven, on earth and even in Hell: All will bend their knee before Him, some in loving adoration, some in hateful spite, but kneel they will, constrained by the reality they cannot avoid.
So the Day will come, and on it we will be judged. How do we go about preparing ourselves for that Day? The Gospel gives us the answer: we must give to God today all that is His. And what is His? Everything. If we must give to Caesar, that is, to the legitimate authority of the state, what is his, that is to say, our cooperation with a just public order of things, it is of much greater importance that we give to God what is His, our body and soul, all that we are and have.
If we are baptised and confirmed, we have been stamped with the seal of the Holy Trinity in a more indelible fashion than the penny stamped with the image of Caesar. We belong to Jesus Christ, and if we want to have the assurance that the Day of Judgment will find us on the right side, we must, here and now, live out all that this entails.
“We are Thine, and Thine we wish to be”, we said last week in the prayer of Consecration to the Sacred Heart. Let us renew each day of our lives this dedication, and say to Our Blessed Lord frequently that we are His and that we want to be His, and that our joy lies in fulfilling His most holy will in all things.
Then the “Day of Christ Jesus” will indeed find us rejoicing, for He will have brought to fulfilment what He began in us the day we were baptised. Let’s not disappoint the Eternal King, our most sweet Saviour and Lord, Christ Jesus.