Today is a glorious day in the life of the Church. It also brings to a close another liturgical year. The first and third readings are so inspiring that it is hard for me to choose one or the other today. I will try to touch on both even though the smallness of the space here can’t possibly do justice to the concepts that are unveiled before us today.
The Gospel excerpt is one of the most popular in the Christian community. It is that wonderful scene in Matthew’s 25th Gospel in which Jesus himself describes Judgment Day when He himself judges the nations, judges humanity, judges each and every one of us. What is His criteria for reward or failure? Simply, our commitment to our brothers and sisters, our willingness to help them, our willingness to sacrifice on their behalf. This text provides a great motivation to be both just and generous. We will all be there one day and we certainly do want to hear Jesus say to us, “Come you have my Father’s blessing!”
But let’s at least take a moment to look at the first reading from the book of Ezekiel, where the image is sheep, an enormous flock of sheep with Jesus as the shepherd. This text is written centuries before the birth of Jesus but the Church has applied it to Jesus himself as the shepherd of his flock, and that flock is the great community of faith also called the Church
In the final day of Judgment, the relationship between Jesus and his people is decided and the criteria is love and generosity. Let’s make the cut!
Viva Cristo Rey and Viva Christ the King!