Theme: JESUS CHRIST WILL COME A SECOND TIME AS KING OF THE UNIVERSE
- Ezekiel 34:11-12. 15-17;
- Psalm 22 (23): 1-3. 5-6. R/ v. 1;
- 1 Corinthians 15:20-26. 28
- Matthew 25:31-46
1. Today is the 34th Sunday or the last Sunday in Ordinary Time in Liturgical Year A. Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. We celebrate the feast of Christ the King on the last Sunday of the liturgical year, because we believe that at the end of the world, Jesus Christ will come a second time as King of the universe!
The gospel today tells us of the second coming of Jesus Christ as king of the universe! He will judge all the peoples. Those who accepted the gospel will enter heaven, but those who rejected the gospel will not enter heaven! The hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick and in prison in today’s gospel refer to “one of the least of these brothers of mine” (Mt 25:40), that is, the disciples, the Christian Missionaries who proclaim the gospel. (CSB/Fuller) Acceptance of the disciples means acceptance of the gospel, rejection of the disciples means rejection of the gospel! Thus we read in the gospel today:
“Then the virtuous will say to the King in reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?’ And the King will answer, ‘I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.’” (Mt 25: 37-40)
We have therefore to proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth so that all may believe and be saved!
2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the Lord is not only king and judge, but he is also shepherd and savior! Thus we read in the first reading:
“The Lord says this: I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view. As a shepherd keeps all his flock in view when he stands up in the middle of his scattered sheep, so shall I keep my sheep in view. I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered during the mist and darkness. I myself will pasture my sheep, I myself will show them where to rest – it is the Lord who speaks. I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong. I shall watch over the fat and healthy. I shall be a true shepherd to them.” (Ezk 34:11-12. 15-16)
The first reading is an outline of the good shepherd found in John 10:11-18! Thus we read in John 10:14-15:
“I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep.” (NJB)
3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is on the good shepherd. (NJB) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.” (Ps 22 (23): 1) And thus the responsorial psalm:
“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.” (Ps 22 (23): 1-3/stanzas 1 and 2)
The second part of the responsorial psalm is on the host of a banquet. It is related to the good shepherd. Just as the good shepherd leads and provides food and drink for the sheep, the host of a banquet provides food and drink for the guests! (NJBC) Thus we read in stanzas three and four of the responsorial psalm:
“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.” (Ps 22 (23): 5-6)
4. Finally, and most importantly, the second reading tells us that Jesus Christ will come a second time and he will destroy death forever, and the dead will rise to a new life , and he will hand over the kingdom to God the Father so that God may be all in all! Thus we read in the second reading:
“Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ; but all of them in their proper order: Christ as the first-fruits and then, after the coming of Christ, those who belong to him. After that will come the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, having done away with every sovereignty, authority and power. For he must be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet and the last of the enemies to be destroyed is death. And when everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subject in his turn to the One who subjected all things to him, so that God may be all in all.” (1 Co 15: 22-26. 28)
5. Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink is blood, and the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth until the second coming of Jesus Christ. And when Jesus Christ comes a second time he will take us all to heaven!