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Wednesday, November 16, 2011


(Matthew 25:31-46)

To listen:

          We have now come to the last Sunday of the liturgical calendar of the Church which is the celebration of Christ the King.  At the end of time, Christ will come again as the King of heaven and earth.  Although a King, He is still the Good Shepherd and being a shepherd, He will also be our judge.
          Most of us live in a democratic society but to those who still have monarchies, their king is a symbol of unity.   David was a shepherd before he was made a king and was the greatest of all the kings Israel had.  The other kings were bad because they were not good shepherds and so God promised that He Himself would their King.  Jesus Christ who was the Good Shepherd (Jn. 10) was the fulfillment of that promise.
          The gospel this Sunday is a simile which forms the end of the teaching of Jesus in the book of Matthew.   The Second Coming of Christ (Parousia) is judgment day!  According to the gospel, He will judge like a shepherd who at the end of the day separates the sheep from the goats.  Although during the day both the sheep and goats are pasturing together but in the evening the sheep prefer the open air so the goats have to be brought inside.  Because most of the sheep are white they became a symbol for goodness and are placed on the right; while the blackness of the goats symbolized badness and are placed on the left.  Just as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goat at the end of the day, Christ as a shepherd and king will also separate the good from the bad at the end of time.  The sheep are the good people who gave food to the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger, clothed the naked and visited the sick and the prisoner.   On the other hand, the goats are those people who have not done this. In surprise, Christ revealed his presence in the hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick and prisoner.    St. Paul before his conversion was persecuting the Church.  Jesus told him that persecuting the Christians was also persecuting Christ.
          How will God judge us? Certainly not by the standard of the world.   The way of the world is success which is measured in the amassment of wealth and power in the glorification of the ego.  We can call it the “way of the goat”!   On the other hand “the way of the sheep” is going out of the self in serving the Anawim of God who are the unwanted, the marginalized, the oppressed and the poor. Jesus incarnates himself again through them in the most unexpected ways.  In fact divinity is camouflaged by the most unlikely persons whom we ignore and abhor. That is why oftentimes we missed many precious moments of potential encounter with the divine.
          At the end we will be judged not by our faith but how we are able to translate that faith into concrete acts of good works in fostering the dignity of those who may not look like Christ.   Our love of God should find its channel through practical acts of charity done to the least, the last and the lowest.  Then we will hear God telling us “Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take as your heritage the kingdom prepared for you…”


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