Ez. 34: 11-12, 15-17; Ps 23, 1 Cor. 15:20-26, 28, Mt. 25: 31-46
A Shepherd of Love and Justice
The readings for today’s feast, “SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING” portrays an image of a God who is a Good Shepherd. A shepherdwho tends one’s flock and look for the lost sheep. The prophet Ezekiel put it, “For thus says the Lord God: I myself will look after and tend my sheep. As a shepherd tend his flock when he find himself among his scattered, so I will tend my sheep, I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered when it was cloudy and dark”(34:11-12). This recognition of God as a Shepherd is beautifully crafted in Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. In verdant pastures he give me repose…” However in the second reading there is a slight shift from a Shepherd God to the person of Jesus Christ who is the first fruit of all creation. From Him comes a new life. Christ as the Son of God who “will hand over the kingdom to God the Father”(1 Cor. 15:24). He must reign after having destroy all God’s enemies that leads to death such us power, sovereignty, authority and death (1 Cor. 15:24-26). Christ then as a King and as Shepherd will not only look for the scattered sheep but also will judge his flock according to their deeds and act of kindness. The Gospel of Matthew tells us how the Shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. The sheep represents the people who did acts of loving kindness such us feeding the hungry, visiting the sick and the prisoners, welcoming the strangers, providing a drink for the thirsty, clothing the naked and comforting the lonely. On the other hand the goat represents those people who are indifferent towards the least of their neighbors.
Furthermore, the gospel today is giving us a very important lesson. It is the answer of the king King or perhaps Jesus to those asking him: “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or see you thirsty and give you a drink?… And the King will answer them: I assure you, as often as you did it for the least of your neighbors, you did it for me”(Matthew 25:37-40).
Moreover all the readings are reminding us that Kingship, Leadership and Servanthood of Christ are far more different from the worldly leaders and kings of this world. Jesus Christ is a Shepherd King who comes to serve out of love and mercy and this is evident in all the gospel narratives. He showed us the best example of what is to be a good shepherd and a merciful judge, that is to be a servant of love and justice. The feast of Christ the King invites us to reflect on two things: (1) The image God as Good Shepherd; and (2) How is our relationship with Jesus and with the least of our sisters and brothers who needs our act of loving kindness.
Lastly, our world today is in need of justice and loving kindness because many of our brothers and sisters are leaving in a violent environment. Many women and children are victimized by human traffickers, some workers are oppressed and exploited, there are Christians who are persecuted and killed,Â farmers are experiencing different forms of injustices , and there is a â€œnon stop violenciaâ€ between Israel and Palestine. These realities are telling us that there is a need for a Good Shepherd: A Shepherd who will rescue them and will bring them peace, justice and love.
written by Arlyne