Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17
Ps 23:1-3, 5-6
1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who 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 drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left,
‘Depart from me, you accursed,
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 no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life.”
Good News Reflection: What does Jesus do as King?
We don’t usually think of shepherds as kings, but the scriptures this Sunday describe the kingly powers of the Jesus our Good Shepherd. A good king cares for his subjects the way a shepherd cares for his sheep.
Kings increase the size of their reign and accomplish their work over the whole territory through their subjects. That’s why Jesus says, “Whatever you do for one of the least of mine, you do for me.”
For example, our Good Shepherd-King wants to distribute food to the hungry, all the way to the farthest reaches of his kingdom. How does he get it done? He gives an abundance of food to some of us and commands us to take it to those who need it.
What happens if we don’t fulfill the King’s commands? Do the starving people think the King is benevolent? No, they can only see his goodness when we do as he tells us to do.
Look at the people who are around you. Each one is an opportunity to give the King a good name.
What about the people whom you like least of all? What about those who’ve made you feel angry or intimidated or hurt? Well, ask this: What is he/she hungry for? If the answer’s not obvious, ask the Holy Spirit. Observe that person long enough to identify the emptiness or pain or fears that are buried under the surface.
Then ask this: What abundance has God given to me that this “least one” is lacking and needs from Christ our King? Can I show him/her the King’s benevolence despite my feelings?
When we say no to opportunities to share what we have, we are behaving like one of the goats whom the Good Shepherd-King separates from the sheep on the way to heaven. And when we say yes, despite the feelings that could make us goat-like, the King’s good reputation spreads, and we are all blessed.
Questions for Personal Reflection:
What good things do you have in abundance? How readily do you share them? Who is of least importance to you? How can you take your focus off of what you don’t like about them so that you can give them blessings from God?
Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
Have you ever done something good to someone who didn’t deserve it? How did this affect your relationship with Jesus? What abundance do you see in each member of your family or faith sharing community that, when shared, blesses others?
Lord: Give me an alert spirit and a generous heart always ready to serve others. I want to follow You wherever You lead, taking Your love to heal, deliver and comfort my brothers and sisters. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica