The Path of Life

The Path of Life

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lost and found

Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011
Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King—A
Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17
1Corinthians 15:20-26, 28
Matthew 25:31-46
One thing that is striking about today’s readings is the emphasis on God’s initiative in seeking us. Those who are serious about the spiritual life are often in danger of straining to direct it, thereby missing the obvious. If you’ve ever conducted a frantic 15-minute search for your car keys, only to realize they’ve been in your pocket (or your hand!) all along, you know what I mean.

We must seek God, as today’s Gospel points out, but true seeking is not straining beyond our means. To seek means standing still long enough to recognize what is right in front of us. In the spiritual life, this means recognizing the presence of Christ in THIS moment, THIS person, THIS circumstance immediately before us. It means accepting God’s message as it is presented to us so that we may do all for the sake of Christ, and “God may be all in all,” as St. Paul says.

The point is that we really don’t need to seek God so much as allow ourselves to be found by him. It is God who takes the initiative, as today’s first reading points out: “I myself will look after and tend my sheep … The lost I will seek out,” says the Lord. No matter where we are or who we are, God comes among us to gather us to himself.

It is interesting to note the adjectives used to describe the sheep in the reading from Ezekiel. They are:






In one way or another, these words describe us all. But Christ the King and Good Shepherd comes to meet us (sometimes even as a sheep in wolf’s clothing!) in our scattered, lost, strayed, injured, and sick existence. He becomes one with us in our humanity to lead us into the Eternal Kingdom and adorn us with the sparkling divinity befitting children of God. We don’t attain heaven. It attains us—if we let it.

As we prepare to embark on the season of Advent and recall the glorious mystery of the Incarnation—God’s supreme initiative in seeking out his lost sheep—we look to the King who comes not to rule and govern, but to love and guide us along the right way. As Pope Benedict XVI remarks:
“By calling ourselves Christians, we label ourselves as followers of the King. God did not intend Israel to have a kingdom. The kingdom was a result of Israel’s rebellion against God. The law was to be Israel’s king, and through the law, God himself. God yielded to Israel’s obstinacy and so devised a new kind of kingship for them. The King is Jesus; in him God entered humanity and espoused it to himself. God does not have a fixed plan that he must carry out; on the contrary, he has many different ways of finding man and even of turning his wrong ways into right ways. The feast of Christ the King is therefore not a feast of those who are subjugated, but a feast of those who know that they are in the hands of the one who writes straight on crooked lines.”

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