Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King
“Shepherd-King o’er mountain steep, homeward guide thy wand’ring sheep.” This hymn which we will probably sing today captures the readings perfectly: our King is not a cruel tyrant or despot, but a shepherd who loves his flock, who would (and did) give his life for them. Love for the flock means that he will have to judge them, separating the sheep from those who do not belong to him. Coming to the end of the Church’s year leads us to look to our final ending, the homecoming the hymn speaks of. The judgement of the end of time we do not view as a trial or a terror, but as a coming home: look back to the Isaiah reading on the 28th Sunday to see what a homecoming party is offered. All we do is put our lives in order, living just and holy lives, longing for the day of the lord to come.
First Reading: Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17
Second Reading: 1Cor 15:20-26, 28
Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose. Near restful waters he leads me, to revive my drooping spirit. He guides me along the right path; he is true to his name. You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes. My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing. Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life. In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.