Sunday, November 26, 2023

Jesus Christ Our King and Shepherd

Jesus Christ is King of the Universe, but His reign is not like the vanity of the powers who rule this world. Christ’s kingship is the rule of Infinite Love, the love of the God who creates us, redeems us, and draws us to Himself by the total outpouring of Himself in love on the Cross. He is sent by the Father as the ultimate Gift (“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…” [John 3:16] ).
The readings for this year’s feast emphasize the attentiveness, persistence, and particular love of Christ the King, who is our Good Shepherd. The prophet Ezekiel proclaims the Lord’s promise that He Himself will “tend” to the salvation of His people, His “sheep,” and “rescue them” from darkness.

Thus says the Lord: “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” (Ezekiel 34:11-12).

Christ’s kingship is full of the tender love of a parent for a child. It is “agape”—the love which we too share by the gift of the Holy Spirit, which calls us to participate in Jesus’s reign of self-giving love. People are entrusted to us not so that we might act like we are superior to them, but so that we might serve them in the kingdom in which to serve is to reign. I was reminded of this from a text of Fr Giussani in our reading for the School of Community:

“May you live the experience of a father; father and mother… because each one has to be father to the friends he has around him, has to be mother of the people around about; not giving himself airs, but with real charity. For no-one can be as fortunate and glad as a man and a woman who feel themselves made fathers and mothers by the Lord. Fathers and mothers of all those they meet” (Luigi Giussani).