April 19, 2017

A reflection from Bob Hurd on ‘The Least of These’

Artwork for A reflection from Bob Hurd on ‘The Least of These’

John Paul II once said that the true test of authentic liturgy is Matthew 25:31-46. What we do to the least of these—the hungry, the forsaken, the imprisoned, the immigrant and the refugee--we do to Christ. If we deny them our care in their need, we deny Christ. We are not really living eucharistically, because the Eucharist is about standing with Christ in self-emptying love toward others. This is what it means for Christ to do the will of the One who sent him. And this is what it means for us to follow him. This is why the Church requires us to treat immigrants and refugees compassionately rather than vilifying them. They are our sisters and brothers in Christ and this is not how we treat family!

As an elaboration of the meaning of communion, this song may be used all year round. But it is especially relevant for the Feast of Christ the King. The lectionary readings for this feast are ironic. Jesus the King is in situations of powerlessness and vulnerability: nailed to a cross in Year C, and about to be handed over for execution in Year B. Matthew 25:31-46 is the Gospel reading in Year A. The enthroned Son of Man identifies himself with the least among us. Other Sundays on which this song would serve the readings are the 25th and 26th Sundays in Ordinary Time, Year C (treatment of the poor), the 3rd Sunday of Easter ,Year C (Jesus tells Peter, if you love me, feed my sheep), and the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A (Christ the Good Shepherd).

Choral Review Service

Bob Hurd’s “The Least of These” is included in the Spring 2017 edition of the OCP Choral Review Service. Every year, subscribers receive sheet music and recordings of more than 70 specially selected choral pieces. Whether it’s new music for your traditional or contemporary choir, settings fit for children’s voices or to inspire intercultural ensembles, OCP has the right choral series to help you unite your community in worship.

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This song can also be found in the collection, The Bread of Your Word.


Bob Hurd
Bob Hurd


With more than 45 years of composing under his belt, Dr. Bob Hurd knows a thing or two about music and liturgy. That might explain why so many of his songs for worship have become classics in the repertoire.

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