“The LORD is my shepherd.
There is nothing I shall want.”
Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17
I Corinthians 15: 20-26, 28
by Sister Judith Bloxham, OSB
In the first reading for this Sunday celebrating Christ the King, Ezekiel tells of God’s promise to look after his sheep. And, we are all the Lord’s scattered sheep, the sheep of His pasture, the Church and the entire world. Scripture says, “I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest, says the Lord God.” For me, what this immediately calls to mind is a much loved quotation from St. Ambrose of Milan. “Come then, Lord Jesus… Come to me, seek me, find me, take me in your arms and carry me.” Christ is King, a compassionate, loving King, who is The Shepherd of the Universe.
St. Paul speaks of Christ as the One who will hand over His kingdom to the Father. And Paul adds, Christ will only turn over the kingdom when He has defeated all His enemies and the “…last enemy to be destroyed is death.” This is a comforting reminder during our continued experience of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the Gospel, Matthew speaks of the Final Judgement where 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.” If we are truly the faithful sheep, we must recognize each person we encounter as the person of Christ. We must feed them, visit them, and clothe them as if they are Christ in our lives. The Gospel adds, “…what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.” How can we possibly ever do all this? Perhaps we need to return St. Ambrose’s prayer. We need to remember that the Lord, as shepherd, carries each of us during our lives. The Latin for this is “suscipe me, porta me,” “take me in your arms and carry me.” Every Benedictine prays this Suscipe when professing their vows, and lifts their arms to be carried by the Lord. May we all pray this prayer, not only for ourselves, but for our nation, and our entire world.
From the Rule of St. Benedict
Chapter 58:21, The Procedure for Receiving New Candidates
“Receive me, O Lord, in accordance with your word and I shall live, and do not disappoint me in the hope you have given me.” (Psalm 118:116)
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!”