Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Solemnity of Christ the King- Reflections- Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo

Thirty Fourth Sunday Year A: The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King
Readings: Ezek 34:11-2, 15-17; Ps 23:1-6; 1 Cor 15:20-26, 28 and Matt 25:31-46.

Imitating the reign of Christ, the Good Shepherd

Today we celebrate the feast of Christ the King which marks the end of the Liturgical season. Even though this feast brings the liturgical year to an end there is no end to recent increasing arguments between the “99 and the 1%”. There is no end to disputes between the “have-nots” and the “haves,” the wealthy and the poor, the filled and the empty, the employed and the unemployed, or to the question of who should our leader, our president or our king be. The search for justice and love is unending!

Do we not sometimes in our faith context act  like Pilate.  Do we not sometimes feel  or unconsciously act like the opponents of Jesus and the Roman soldiers in the passion narratives – limiting our knowledge of kingship to earthly dominion and power. The reign of Christ, his shepherding is not of this “world”- but of love and service!

The readings of today shed light on the true image of a model king –shepherd, a disciple after Christ who not only cares,  but loves God and his flock. He is generous with his gifts, treats one another well, ready to sacrifice and lay down his or her life for his sheep.

 This image is highlighted in  by  Prophet Ezekiel and Psalm 23. A good shepherd tends his flock with care and love. He seeks to rescue them from every place where they were scattered and guide them in the right path. Besides restful water he lead them!

Similarly, in the gospel of Matthew 25: 31-46, the good shepherd, separates the sheep from the goats. Each of us, in our various places of responsibilities and roles in the church, and in the society are called to watch out for that judgment day, by the way we care for our “little brothers” and “sisters”- including the disciples, the missionaries members of our faith communities and those in various needs.

Do we not also see this image in  John's gospel chapter 10 . But like Peter in the same gospel, especially in the passion narrative, we might be weak once upon a time by denying Christ, the good Shepherd in the way we treat our neighbors. But also like Peter in the Resurrection narrative we want to say to Christ, “Lord you know everything, you know that I love you,’ (John 21:17). We can do this by the  way we receive one other, missionaries and more especially the poor , those in prison,  the homeless, the aged, the sick and the less privilege.

Our prayer is that the Lord may increasingly bless  us  at various levels with good parents,  teachers,  pastors, prophets, evangelists, priests, mentors, spouses, friends, leaders within and outside the church- after the example of Christ the Good  and Loving Shepherd!