November 22: Christ the King. Readings: 1. Ezekiel 34:11-12,15-17; Psalm: 23; 2. 1 Corinthians 15:20-26,28; Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46.
The coming of God’s reign is not perhaps how we might ordinarily picture it. These samples from Holy Scripture are, then, a way of making us think of it as very much connected with the ordinary context of our lives.
Ezekiel sets us to thinking about the reign in a down-to-earth manner. The shepherd caring for his sheep is a commonly observed experience in the ancient biblical world. And so, by understanding our relationship with our God as something similar, we recognise we are precious in God’s sight. No matter what happens, we will never be without divine assistance. Ezekiel’s words therefore reveal that divine kingship outranks any earthly rule and is a source of blessed well-being for all who trust in the Almighty.
Paul’s perspective on the kingdom of God comes through very clearly in the verses from 1 Corinthians. With everything dependent upon Christ’s victory over death, Paul encourages us to be firm in our faith. Because it is in that faith that we come to know we belong to a community of believers who look forward to eternal happiness, a life made possible by the powerful action of God our Father and the Lord Jesus.
With Matthew’s Gospel, we hear words that fully illustrate how the shepherd image extends to our caring for one another in very concrete ways. And when that aspect of the kingdom is ignored or neglected, the judgement pronounced is a warning to examine how we participate in the coming of God’s reign. By lovingly caring for one another, we express our commitment to honouring God’s power and authority.
As we observe the feast of Christ the King, these readings are meant to stir us into action. They recall that every day is another chance to help reveal the reign of God made visible in Christ.