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Commentary on Final Sunday of the Liturgical Year

The Solemnity of Christ the King

Sunday November 26th​

First Reading: Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17

Psalm 22, Response: The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Second Reading: I Corinthians 15:20-26, 28

Gospel: Matthew 25: 31-46

The last words of Jesus before his passion begins are a magnificent summary of everything Matthew has said about the Kingdom and how we are to gain admittance to it. It is a passage which should thrill and console in equal measure, and the one who proclaims it should feel privileged. It may consign people to eternal fire, but this is only because of what they have done to others. One thinks of the Beatitudes, the Sermon on the Mount, and the commandment to love God and to love neighbour some four weeks ago. What this passage adds is that the good things are done to Christ unknowingly; Christ is in every person, no matter how humble or insignificant. Interestingly, Ezekiel 34, if read from the beginning of the chapter, goes in the opposite direction; verses 1 – 8 are a list of things the bad shepherds have done in parallel to the good things in our first reading, and disaster is foreseen for them. The second reading, as befits such an important day, is in tune with the other two. It is from St. Paul’s great chapter (I Cor. 15) about the Resurrection, in which he proclaims the truth in opposition to other opinions. The last verse is puzzling, but what it seems to mean is that when history comes to an end, the struggles that beset the Church will be over and Christ will place everything in his Father’s hands. Matthew 26 begins: “Jesus had now finished all he wanted to say.

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