Homily Feast of Christ the King Year A Judgement based on love

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Homily for Feast of Christ the King Year A

Reading 1: Two images of God is given: God as Shepherd and God as Judge.

The prophet Ezekiel realizes that the people of his day, though chosen by God, have been misguided by those who were appointed to shepherd them.  God does not abandon his people nor us.  He will be our shepherd when we are without true shepherds.

How often have we felt abandoned or neglected?  At times, we have run away from God. At other times we have not been properly cared for. In any case God reminds us of his fidelity to his promises.  “I am your God and you are my people. I have made a covenant with you and I will be faithful to it.”

He leaves us free to remain with him or to stray. If we stray he will seek us out, but will never force us to return to him.

The symbol of the sleek and the strong are those who choose to go their own way without relationship to God. Their choice will lead to self-destruction. Those who know they need God in their lives, even when they have strayed will turn to him and he will heal them and care for them.

It is the last verse that connects with the Gospel. “As for you, my sheep, says the Lord God, I will judge between one sheep and another, between rams and goats.

Gospel: God as Judge is the focus and the basis of his judgement is love shown to others. The first reading sets the scene of the separation of the two: sheep and goats. The Sheep or the elect are those who chose to belong to Christ, the Good Shepherd and place themselves under his Lordship. They surrendered their lives into his hands. They may have been lost and strayed, but an encountered with Jesus made a difference in their lives. They chose what pleases the Lord out of love. Their reaction to others’ needs is based on love.

The goats, on the other hand, chose to go their own way. They chose to be self-sufficient and independent, seeking what satisfies them for the moment, whether it is in accord with God’s plan for them or not. Because the goats chose not to belong to the Lord, they do not act of love but out of selfishness. Their eyes are closed to others and their hearts are hardened to the needs of others.

While in reality goats can’t become sheep, sinners can become saints. The message of the Gospel is simple: one who is separated from God by choice can choose to surrender oneself into the hands of God and accept the gift of his mercy and love and then respond to love towards others.

Reading 2: This reading gives us the reason for the separation between the sheep and the goats. The kingdom of God is the kingdom of light and life, not darkness and death. Jesus through his death and resurrection has conquered the second death which is eternal alienation from God. He has also overcome the everlasting consequences of human death, the eternal destruction of the body. In his resurrection our bodies will rise and be reunited with our spirit either for eternal glory or eternal condemnation. To be in the kingdom of God and light and love or away from God in darkness is our choice. Belonging and responding to God in love is the key to understanding the Gospel message.

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