25 Nov OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE
Christ the King
Dear OLPH Family and Friends,
I can’t believe it but we are already at the end of this Church Year. It is also the end of our Cycle with Matthew’s Gospel. With Advent we will begin a new Church Year with Mark as our primary Gospel for the year. I know that for years I have encouraged you to take a moment to read the Gospel for the upcoming year. Ideally, this will allow for us to really savor the differences in the Gospels. These differences are based on the writer, the audience and the circumstances of the time in which a particular Gospel was written. Mark is the shortest of all the Gospels and yet contains some of the most detailed information about Christ and what He was doing at the time. Wanting not to be accused of “not practicing what I preach” I will be spending a few days this week at the Abbey praying over the Gospel of Mark. You will all be remembered in that time of prayer and reflection.
The Solemnity of Christ the King always marks the end of the Liturgical Year. How do we understand “Kingship” in relation to Christ, who refused to be called a king during His earthly life? Today’s readings from Ezekiel and the Gospel seem to focus our attention on Christ as our judge. The first reading ends with these words: “I will judge between one sheep and another, between rams and goats.” Matthew shows the risen Christ as our judge at the end of time.
The image of judge is tempered by the fact that both readings depict the judge as a shepherd. Shepherds care for the sheep. The image of the judge is not one focused primarily on condemnation. The primary point of both readings is to urge us to live so that we will be recognized as faithful sheep ready for the glory of the kingdom.
Prefacing our first reading is a condemnation of those shepherds who abuse their office and neglect the sheep. God says in our reading, however, that He Himself will provide for all the needs of His people. God Himself will seek the lost, will heal their wounds, will pasture them and give them rest.
Nothing matters to the good shepherd except the best care possible for his flock.
Matthew tells us that at the end of time, Christ will appear more glorious than the radiance of a dawning sun. Now, Christ as king will claim the flock He tended. The flock He is to claim is itself called to be active in His Mission seeking out the lost, healing the sick, tending the needs of all. May God grant us the wisdom to open our eyes and hearts to the needs of all His children!
Next week will be the beginning of Advent. Do yourself a big favor and spend a few minutes of each day reflecting on the great mystery of God’s love for us! He loves us so much that He gave us His only Son. That Son, Jesus, loves us so much that He became a little child who ultimately gave His life so that we might have eternal life. Booklets are available at all the doors to assist you in a daily reflection. May God grant us the Wisdom to come aside and rest with Him, even if only for a few minutes a day!
Peace and Blessings! Fr. Ron