by Joan DeMerchant
Some of the most dramatic biblical imagery comes on this last Sunday of our liturgical year. The overall imagery on this feast is striking: Israel’s rulers do not adequately care for their people. So, God will do it, as both shepherd and judge. But, the responsibility for the neediest shifts in the Gospel. When the Son of Man comes in glory, he will judge us for our acts of mercy. We cannot look to God to care for those in need. The job is now ours, and the King now judges us.
by Mary M. McGlone
1 – [In the first reading,] God promises to come and seek out the lost, bind up the wounded, and provide pasture for all except the “sleek and strong.” The latter are the ones who took advantage and allowed the others to languish.
2 – Teilhard offers us a hope and vision… He says, “Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”
Planning: Christ the King (Year A)
Fr. Mick discusses the Solemnity of Christ the King and how it challenges followers to understand Christ’s kingship, despite His refusal to be labeled as such during His mortal life. This year, the focus seems to shift towards Christ as a judge, but this stern image is softened by the analogy of Christ being a shepherd tending his flock. The metaphor suggests that judgment does not aim at condemnation, but guidance and care.
In the Parish
The Gospel from Matthew emphasizes charity and justice as the key criteria for being considered ‘good sheep,’ aligning well with the collection for the Campaign for Human Development (CHD) which in 2017 coincided with this solemnity. In 2023, however, it was taken last week, November 19.
Fr. Mick states various other ways to devote a parish’s resources and energy towards charitable works and advocating for justice. Many who find themselves in need have been victims of unjust laws, wealth inequality, climate disasters, scant wages or inadequate aid for addiction issues. Both preaching and prayers should demand justice in tandem with charity.
SOURCE: National Catholic Reporter: Cycle A Sunday Resources feature series. View the full series.
PROVERBS 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31
Mary McGlone discusses how God condemns self-serving shepherds and promises to shepherd the just. The flock has been scattered in exile, lost, injured, and in need of care. God will judge between those who serve themselves and those in need, reversing their conditions.
1 Thes 5:1-6
Mary McGlone focuses on the core belief of the Christian faith: the resurrection of Christ. She explores Paul’s understanding of believers’ union with Christ, the trajectory of creation, and the transformative power of this belief for our past, present, and future.
Mary McGlone discusses the description of the last judgment, the interpretation of the parable of the Son of Man, and the establishment of the feast of Christ the King. She emphasizes the portrayal of Jesus in weakness and challenges readers to consider the impact of resurrection.