THE SOLEMNITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE
Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17
For thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.
I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.
As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord God: I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.
1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28
Brothers and sisters:
Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
As we read the analogy of a shepherd and his sheep in today’s readings, we see clearly how much the Lord wants to care for his people and expects that they do the work of looking out for each other. The obedient are like the sheep who follow him but the goats go their own way. Goats and sheep are all assessed in the end by how they did God’s Will and end up being condemned if they did only their own will.
We celebrate Jesus as King of the Universe today. In all creation there is one true God and King. All belong to him, are created through him, but not all acknowledge Jesus as their king. As the Gospel reveals, it is dangerous for us to put ourselves in that place. The kings of the world, the elites, who grow strong, figuring how to win and manipulate others, establish kingdoms of their own. They are not satisfied with enough. They always want to have more. They have money but they also want power. They have power but they also want allegiance.
Those who acknowledge Jesus as king will be cared for and healed by him. But there is no unity, no fellowship, with those who are not of the flock, who do not follow the Lord. There is division and ultimately, Jesus will do the separating himself.
Today, we pray that we can follow the Lord more closely and allow ourselves to be healed by Him. Also, we pray for those who are far off to come to the Lord and be ruled by him, the King of the Universe.