Homily (2) the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King Year A: Fr. Michael UdoekpoReadings: Ezek 34:11-2, 15-17; Ps 23:1-6; 1 Cor 15:20-26, 28 and Matt 25:31-46.
Christ: Model for kings and leadersToday we celebrate the feast of Christ the King, which marks the end of the Liturgical season. The importance of today’s celebration cannot be overemphasized. It serves to remind us a few essentials. First, that the God who created us is the sovereign of all creation, human, animals, seas, plant, mountains, and nations, name them! He is all and all, alpha and the Omega! The source of our lasting hope! Second, Christ Jesus is God’s incarnate, the son of God, and the King of the Universe. Third, earthly leaders, kings, parents, family heads, heads of governments, bosses in factories and institutions, representatives at the United Nations, in their different roles, in history, that stretches back to the monarchical history of Israel (if we want) are called to be viceroys and imitators of Christ, in his love, kindness, leadership, care, mercy, justice, and righteousness.
In Israel’s history, apart from David, Hezekiah and Josiah most of the kings were completely out of touch with God’s expectations: obedient, fair, selfless, holy, wise, peaceful, prayerful, hopeful, compassionate, faithful, steadfast, courageous, prudent, sensitive, and covenant oriented, qualities that may be necessary for our leaders today!
The Prophet Ezekiel, in the first reading (Eze 34:11-2,15-17), reminds us that like the Israelites in exile, when we feel disappointed by our leaders or in our leadership roles, we should draw strength from God, who acts, loves us as a good shepherd loves his flock. God also tends us as a shepherd tends his flock. God rescues us as a shepherd rescues a loss sheep. He brings us back when we are astray from his paths of love and kindness. God heals us when we are sick, just as a shepherd binds the wounds of his wounded flocks. He guides us in the right paths (ps 23), of hope and kindness.
Similarly, Saint Paul while addressing the Corinthians, stresses these hope and trust in the leadership of God when he preaches, “When everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all (1 Cor 15:20–26, 28).
In the Gospel (Matt 25:31–46), the qualities of Christ, the Good shepherd are also in display. He judges with love and prudence. He separates the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the weed. The good shepherd, depending on your area of service, emphasizes what matters, namely, community life, relationship, and common good, visiting those in prison, feeding the hungry, assisting the weak, the thirsty, the sick, and clothing the naked.
Today’s scripture speaks to us, who daily witness the rivalry among politicians and leaders of different communities. It addresses those who have fail in their various capacities as leaders, parents and role models. Sometimes we read from our daily newspapers of corrupt leaders who embezzle funds, who prefer to feed, heal, bind, cloth themselves than the flock entrusted to their care. Some also promote the denial of God’s existence. By doing these, they tend to behave like those bad kings of Israel who were out of touch with God, and with the very reasons they were elected into offices.
Whatever, our leadership roles are, be it in our families, churches, schools, institutions, places of work, in the United Nations, and in the society at large, may we continue to trust in Christ the Good Shepherd, and rely upon his love and exemplary Kingship!