Sunday, November 23, 2014

Solemnity of Christ the King - Sunday, November 23, 2014 with Reflection

1ST READING - Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17
11 Thus says the Lord God: I myself will look after and tend my sheep. 12 As a shepherd tends his flock when he finds himself among his scattered sheep, so will I tend my sheep. I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered when it was cloudy and dark. 15 I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest, says the Lord God. 16 The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal but the sleek and the strong I will destroy, shepherding them rightly. 17 As for you, my sheep, says the Lord God, I will judge between one sheep and another, between rams and goats.

P S A L M - Psalm 23:1-2, 2-3, 5-6
R: The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. In verdant pastures he gives me repose. (R) Beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul. He guides me in right paths for his name’s sake. (R) You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. (R) Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come. (R)

2ND READING - 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28
20 Brothers and sisters: Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through man, the resurrection of the dead came also through man. 22 For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, 23 but each one in proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; 24 then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 28 When everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!

Matthew 25:31- 46
31 Jesus said to his disciples: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, 32 and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, 36naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ 40 And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 41 Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ 44Then they will answer and say,  ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ 45 He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ 46 And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”



Today’s feast is reminiscent of the first part of the Palm Sundayliturgy. The crowds welcomed the Lord excitedly. Today, we gather to acclaim Him as King of the universe, as Lord of all Lords, and as the fulfillment of the promised Kingdom of our father David.

       But this kingship and His kingdom have nothing to do with pomposity and power, but about humble service and solicitude: seeking out the lost, bringing back the strayed, binding up the injured, healing the sick — what He, too, is calling us to do, to shepherd His people rightly.

       How did He do all this? St. Paul speaks in terms of “destroying every sovereignty and every authority and power,” along with “putting all his enemies under his feet.” The high point of this victorious feat is about destroying the last enemy, which is death.

       The Gospel passage from Matthew offers us a passing glimpse of the glory associated with the Son of Man. But all three readings say precious little of the glories that are due to Him. Instead, they devote many more words to what the glorious Son of Man will do at the end of time. He will “separate the sheep from the goats.” But what criteria will the King use? This is where things get really interesting. We will all be judged on the basis of whether we have shepherded others rightly or not. Right shepherding has to do with loving care and solicitude for others, like what Ezekiel told us: feeding the hungry, welcoming strangers, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, and visiting the imprisoned.

       Honoring the King does not end with joining a procession and acclaiming His glories at Mass. They are important, but authentic devotion has to pave the way to humble service and solicitude for others. This, the Lord did, as can be gleaned from the readings.

       Today, let us honor Christ the King by resolving to become exactly like Him who did His Kingly role by shepherding others rightly. Fr. Chito Dimaranan, SDB

REFLECTION QUESTION: Are you shepherding rightly the people God has put under your care?

Form me into a good shepherd, Lord. May my heart be as compassionate as Yours.

St. Clement I, pope and martyr, pray for us.

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