Monday, November 20, 2017

Nov. 26. 17 Shepherd King

Feast of Christ the King

Reading I:  Ezekiel 34:11-12,15-17

Psalm:  23

Reading II:  1 Corinthians 15:20-26,28

Gospel:  Matthew 25:31-46

In this Sunday’s Gospel, St. Matthew envisions Jesus in his second coming as a shepherd king and judge. During the last judgment, we see Christ on his throne and people of all times and places before him. He begins his judgments by enumerating the practical ways that “Love,” the summation of all the other commandments, can be expressed. Responding to the human physical needs, as well as the emotional and spiritual ones, is how we will be judged by our God.

The celebrant for our Sunday Mass a few weeks ago told the story of a person
who went to visit a sick man in his home. After chatting for a while, the visitor said: “I shall remember you in prayer.” The response he received from the sick man was that he could pray for himself, but he would deeply appreciate the visitor’s doing the dishes and taking the garbage out for him.

In Matthew’s Gospel, as Jesus judges the people, He reminds them that whatever they have done or not done for their brothers and sisters they have done or not done for Him. A story is told of Saint Martin of Tours that he saw a poor beggar shivering in the cold with nothing to keep him warm. St. Martin cut his large, warm cloak in half and gave half to the beggar. That night he had a vision in which he saw Jesus wearing the half of the cloak that the saint had given to the beggar. This story illustrates colorfully the message of Jesus that what is done for others is done for Him. 

I have to admit that I become overwhelmed when I think of all the starving and needy people in our world. How can I reach out to them with only 24 hours in a day, very limited resources, and physical limitations? I struggled with all this until I remembered that Jesus is a Shepherd King.

All I need to do is ask the Shepherd to lead me to the people He wishes me to help. He already knows my gifts and limitations better than even I do. I have to remember to follow Him. I have a tendency to want to run ahead instead of taking the time to pray, listen, and follow His lead. He knows how and whom I can
best serve. 

 Reflection Question:    With your unique gifts and limitations, how and whom does the Lord ask you to serve?  Listen to him.

Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...

Fiesta de Cristo Rey

En el Evangelio de este domingo, San Mateo imagina a Jesús en su segunda venida como un pastor rey y juez. Durante el último juicio, vemos a Cristo en su trono y personas de todos los tiempos y lugares delante de él. Él comienza sus juicios enumerando las formas prácticas en que se puede expresar el “Amor”,
la suma de todos los otros mandamientos. Respondiendo a las necesidades físicas humanas, así como a las emocionales y espirituales, es la forma en que seremos juzgados por nuestro Dios.

El celebrante de nuestra misa dominical hace unas semanas contó la historia de una persona que fue a visitar a un hombre enfermo en su casa. Después de charlar un rato, el visitante dijo: “Te recordaré en oración”. La respuesta que recibió del enfermo fue que podía orar por sí mismo, pero apreciaría profundamente que el visitante lavara los platos y sacara la basura. para él.

En el Evangelio de Mateo, cuando Jesús juzga a las personas, les recuerda que todo lo que han hecho o dejado de hacer por sus hermanos y hermanas lo han hecho o no han hecho por él. Se cuenta una historia de San Martín de Tours que vio a un pobre mendigo temblando de frío sin nada que lo mantuviera caliente. San Martín cortó su capa grande y cálida por la mitad y le dio la mitad al mendigo. Esa noche tuvo una visión en la que vio a Jesús usando la mitad de la capa que el santo le había dado al mendigo. Esta historia ilustra de manera colorida el mensaje de Jesús de que lo que se hace por los demás se hace por él.

Tengo que admitir que me siento abrumado cuando pienso en todas las personas necesitadas y hambrientas de nuestro mundo. ¿Cómo puedo contactarlos con solo 24 horas al día, recursos muy limitados y limitaciones físicas? Luché con todo esto hasta que recordé que Jesús es un Rey Pastor.

Todo lo que tengo que hacer es pedirle al Pastor que me guíe hacia las personas que Él desea que ayude. Él ya conoce mis dones y limitaciones mejor que yo. Tengo que recordar seguirlo. Tengo una tendencia a querer correr hacia adelante en lugar de tomarme el tiempo para orar, escuchar y seguir Su ejemplo. Él sabe cómo y a quién puedo servir mejor.

 Pregunta de reflexión:    Con sus dones y limitaciones únicos, ¿cómo y a quién le pide el Señor que sirva? Escúchalo a él.


  1. Sr. Therese M. Warner, SBSNovember 20, 2017 at 12:22 PM

    Yes, the consideration of all those starving and needy people certainly is overwhelming and extremely disturbing. We really should pray to Jesus, the Shepherd King, listen to him and "follow his leading". Good suggestions! Thank you, Sister.

    The following quotations, concerning love of our neighbors, are excerpts from communications by Pope Francis:

    "Every day, we are called to become a 'Caress of God' for those who have perhaps forgotten their first caress, or perhaps who never have felt a caress in their lives."

    "Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor." (11/24/13)

    "What counts above all else is 'faith working through love'
    (Gal. 5:6)." (11/24/13)

    "Works of love directed to one's neighbor are the most perfect external manifestations of the interior grace of the Spirit. The foundation of the New Law is in the grace of the Holy Spirit, Who is manifested in the faith which works through love." (11/24/13)

    "Whenever the least of our brothers and sisters finds a place in our hearts, it is God Himself who finds a place there. When that brother or sister is shut out, it is God Himself who is not being welcomed. A heart without love is like a desecrated church building withdrawn from God's
    service and given over to another use." (2/23/14)

    Obviously, our Holy Father has been urging us to remember that "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (John 4:8)

  2. This past week my son and I traveled by train to New York City to spend the day together. Neither of us had been there before so it was an adventure for both of us. From Times Square to Broadway to Central Park, we spent hours walking around the city taking in all the activities, sights and sounds.
    Several of the high-end department stores were decorated for the holiday season and we were wowed by the unique creative and lavish displays. We were fascinated by St. Malachi Catholic Church which ministers primarily to artists and actors, and we spent quite a bit of time at St. Patrick’s Cathedral where we had the opportunity to spend some time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
    Of all the sights I witnessed that day the ones that stood out most for me were the homeless people huddled in blankets on the sidewalks. These individuals were so broken in spirit. They shivered, rocked back and forth, never made eye contact. A small, worn cardboard sign told of their plight. In the middle of the sidewalks they sat, seemingly invisible, as the crowds walked past barely recognizing their presence. It was almost too painful to look at these people, my brothers and sisters, struggling to survive on the streets of a city known for extravagant spending and carefree lifestyles.
    Do these destitute individuals know that they are beloved children of God? In my heart I believe that I encountered Jesus Himself in the form of these helpless, desolate people.
    Today’s Gospel calls us to an active love. It is an invitation to see Jesus in each other. The words of Father Kavanaugh have stayed with me for days, “We all bear the presence of the Most High, no matter how diminished or devalued we may seem. We are bodies of Christ.”
    Gregory Polan, OSB, remarks that in today’s gospel Matthew parallels God’s judgment of all the nations to the characteristics of the divine Shepherd described in psalm 23:
    “I was hungry and you gave me food”…”You have prepared a table before me.”
    “I was thirsty and you gave me drink”…”Near restful waters he leads me.”
    “You cared for me”…”There is nothing I shall want.”
    “You visited me”…”No evil will I fear, for you are with me.”
    ‘“Just as God shepherds us, so we are to shepherd one another in this earthly life. Upon these actions we will be judged.”
    The message contained in today’s reading, in conjunction with my experience in New York City, challenges me to examine the depth of my concern for those less fortunate, to evaluate my current level of generosity, and to open my heart in prayer that homeless people everywhere will be reminded of their inherent value as children of God and that faith and hope will be reignited in their souls.