We have finally arrived at the final Sunday in the Liturgical Year and we celebrate the solemnity of Christ the King. This is a common thread for our readings this week.
We begin with the prophet Ezekiel who tells us what the Lord had told him “I, the Lord, will look after and tend my sheep…” Now we must remember that sheep were a common sight in the time of the prophet and were still around at the time of Jesus so shepherds were something that everyone had a personal experience with, in the world today many of us do not have this reference point. A couple of years ago, in a homily about the Good Shepherd I heard a little about what shepherds were like, they were a group of people who were on the fringe of society, they smelled of sheep and spent a great deal of time with sheep and fellow shepherds, but the shepherd as we hear in this reading are attentive to the sheep, caring for all of them and finding the sheep when they get lost. Our reading ends today with the Lord saying “I will judge between one sheep and another, between rams and goats. The Psalm pick up the shepherd imagery as well, the Lord is our shepherd there is nothing that we shall want.
As we reach the epistle we hear from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians basically Paul reminds us that Jesus rose from the dead and Jesus has become like a new Adam, since death came from man so to does resurrection. Now the Kingdom of God that Christ will reign over will be a place that is in a constant battle with evil and Christ will reign until death itself is destroyed. Then the Kingdom of God will be turned over to the father.
Turning to the Gospel we once again hear about the end times Jesus tells his disciple that when the Son of Man comes again in glory he will separate the sheep from the goats, as we recall this is similar to what the Lord had said in Ezekiel. Jesus continues to the sheep he says come inherit the kingdom prepared for you, since you showed kindness to the least of your brothers. Turning to the goats he says in a very nice way Go to Hell, depart from me you accursed into the eternal flames since you didn’t show kindness to anyone of the least of your brothers. This is a great place to end the Liturgical year asking the question which side are we on. Are we Team Goat or Team Sheep? Let us ponder this question as we enter into the season of Advent and perhaps try to do something for the least of your brothers during the upcoming holiday season.