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Where to Find the King of the Universe

November 22, 2020   The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Lectionary: 160)

Reading 1   EZ 34:11-12, 15-17

Thus says the Lord GOD:
I myself will look after and tend my sheep. 
As a shepherd tends his flock
when he finds himself among his scattered sheep,
so will I tend my sheep.
I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered
when it was cloudy and dark. 
I myself will pasture my sheep;
I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD. 
The lost I will seek out,
the strayed I will bring back,
the injured I will bind up,
the sick I will heal,
but the sleek and the strong I will destroy,
shepherding them rightly.

As for you, my sheep, says the Lord GOD,
I will judge between one sheep and another,
between rams and goats.

Responsorial Psalm   PS 23:1-2, 2-3, 5-6

R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me in right paths
for his name's sake.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. 
Reading 2   1 COR 15:20-26, 28
Brothers and sisters:
Christ has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 
For since death came through man,
the resurrection of the dead came also through man.
For just as in Adam all die,
so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,
but each one in proper order:
Christ the firstfruits;
then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ;
then comes the end,
when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father,
when he has destroyed every sovereignty
and every authority and power. 
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 
The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
When everything is subjected to him,
then the Son himself will also be subjected
to the one who subjected everything to him,
so that God may be all in all.
 

Alleluia   MK 11:9, 10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel   MT 25:31-46
Jesus said to his disciples:

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
'Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left,
'Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life."

By Victoria Mastrangelo 

We often refer to today’s feast as Christ the King, but its full title is The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Every year this day sneaks up on me and at some point in the day, I remember or read this full title and it startles me. For some reason, calling it Christ the King feels cliché, but in reality the fullness of what we believe can be found in the full name of this feast and it feels daunting. 

Every year, this Gospel reminds me that I have work to do day in and day out in building His kingdom.

If I want to be a part of the kingdom that Christ will hand over to the Father in the end, I have my part to play.

I have to live out the Church’s social teaching in each encounter with every individual that I meet, because ultimately, Christ is the King of the Universe. This year has hit this message home in so many particular ways.  

The fact that Jesus Christ is King of the Universe is something that I constantly wrestle with. If He is worried about the universe, particularly the poor, oppressed, and marginalized, how can He be worried about me? I have spent the last year pleading with God about my current situation - financial stress, teaching during COVID, career discernment - and it seems like He has been leaving me behind.

Sometimes I wonder if it's because I’m not poor enough, oppressed enough, or marginalized enough. I feel like I have spent the last year crying out in vain to our God who is concerned with the whole universe and the bigger issues faced by others. “The Lord is my shepherd”, however there is so much that I want. 

What Ezekiel is reminding me of today is that Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, is MY shepherd and He looks after His sheep himself.

He seeks, finds, gives rest, and heals all of His individual sheep.

In this final day of the liturgical year, I am reminded that Christ is searching for me every day. He comes to me in those that I encounter and that I am asked to serve. He comes to me in moments of rest and He seeks to provide the healing that I need. The Creator and King of the Universe comes down to meet me where I am.

This is the incredible reality that we will begin to prepare for in the coming Advent season. I have a Savior who created and rules the entire universe, who calls me to build His kingdom, all while individually seeking me out to provide for me. Where has my shepherd been all this time? Probably right in front of me in his daily disguise, seeking that encounter with me. Will I let Him find me?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Victoria Mastrangelo is a wife, mother of three, and high school theology teacher in Houston. She loves to read multiple books at once, research, write, drink coffee, and travel, as her dream job is to be a perpetual student. Her favorite saints are Edith Stein, Ignatius of Loyola, Dorothy Day and John Paul II which tell you a lot about her spirituality and love of the feminine genius and social justice.

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