HOMILY FOR THE LAST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR A.
HOMILY THEME: THE SHEPHERD KING
BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
We have gradually come to the last Sunday of this Liturgical Year celebrating today the Solemnity of Christ the King. The Solemnity of Christ the King points our attention not only to the identity of Christ as the King of the Universe but also to the goal of the Christian Life, to live and reign with Him forever. May our earthly journey as sons and daughters of God fetch us the crown to be eternally coheirs with Christ our Head; Amen.
Today the Holy Mother Church celebrates the universality of Christ’s Kingship, “the King whose reign will have no end in the universe so full of His glory.” The readings of today reveal to us two important elements of the Kingship of Christ in the Father and with the Holy Spirit. Firstly, in the First Reading (Ez 34:11-12, 15-17), God speaks of His personal interest in every one of His flock; for truly He affirms categorically “I shall be a true shepherd to them.” One of the main characteristics of a shepherd is his personal knowledge of his flock. And secondly, flowing from the first reading through the Gospel Reading (Mt 25:31-45), God speaks of Himself as the One Just Judge of the flock for “I will judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and he-goats” and as the fruit of His judgment “all the nations will be assembled before Him and He will separate men, one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats.”
God is certainly the True and Good Shepherd for He knows His flock personally and He has done everything necessary to keep His flock together and in constant communion with Him. The climax and the greatest act of God to concretize His identity as the True Shepherd is in the incarnation, life, mission and the paschal mysteries of His only Son Jesus Christ. In the words of the Second Reading (I Cor 15:20-26, 28) “just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ.” In Christ, God showed us that “He is truly our Shepherd and there is nothing we shall want.” In Jesus Christ of Nazareth we receive the fullness of all our needs according to the surpassing riches of His grace (Eph 2:7). In Christ we truly receive the form and the garment to dwell in the House of God forever and ever; to reign with Him “whose Kingdom will have no end.”
God is also the Good and Just Judge. He is the Good and Just Judge because He knows each of us personally and completely. A just judge must know the totality of a person because his judgment is based on his knowledge of the person in relation to his or her charges! God’s complete and comprehensive knowledge of us makes unnecessary the need of witnesses and evidences. Unlike earthly judges whose judgments are based on witnesses, evidences and the logic of beyond reasonable doubts, marked as it were by their gross limitations, God’s judgment is upright and just because of His personal relationship and complete knowledge of everyone of His flock. This reality about God’s complete and personal knowledge of us was seen in the response of everyone of the flock, the virtuous and the unrighteous, “Lord, when did we see you…?” They underestimated the identity of God as the True and Good Shepherd who knows and calls His flock by name and who knows the totality of our strengths and weaknesses. They never knew that He “who sees what is done in the secret” (Mt 6:4) sees and knows everything.