What are some things a shepherd does for the sheep? What are some things God does for his people? Why is the shepherd a good image for God? The image of a shepherd is also used to describe leaders in the church, especially bishops and the Pope. What do these leaders carry to remind us all what kind of leadershipGod expects in his Church? In a certain way, all of us are called to leadership. How could we care for those we are responsible for and lead them forward in the faith?
In the Bible, one of the most frequently used images for God is that of a shepherd. The image appears again and again in the Old and New Testaments. Ezekiel sees God as a devoted shepherd who rescues the lost and the strays from dark places. God tends the injured sheep, heals the sick, and gives rest to the entire flock. The goats who do not belong to the flock will be separated out.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2
Christ reigns over the living and the dead. What three things does Paul tell us about this kingship in this reading? St. Paul's letter mentions that "those who belong to him" will have life in Christ. What does it mean to belong to someone? How does it make you feel to know you belong?
The second reading reminds us to look forward to the day when all creation will recognize Christ's reign. At his second coming, Christ will put an end to death by raising our bodies to eternal life. The entire universe will be in harmony with God, and God will be all in all. We can pray "Come, O Lord, and reign over our lives and our world."
Jesus asks us to care for the “least” as we would care for him. Who are considered the “least” in your neighborhood?
Discussion Questions for Gospel
In this reading, what criteria does the ruler/judge use to separate the good and evil ones? List the actions, called Works of Mercy, that are rewarded in this story. List the actions that are not rewarded. Those who were brought into the kingdom and those who were excluded asked the same question. What was the question? What was the answer? What truth is being suggested? What does the king say at the end of both judgments? Who are "the least" referred to in this story?
Today, on the feast of Christ the King, we read that a ruler or leader should be like a shepherd. The leader is to care for all the people and protect them. And a wise and loving ruler knows that what is important for the people is equally important for their leader. In today's gospel, the ruler is also a judge. At the last judgment, Christ is pictured as the king who judges the nations. How does he judge? On the basis of care and concern for the needy. Did you notice in the gospel that all the people were surprised at the king's answer to their questions? How lucky we are to have Jesus tell us what they did not seem to know, that when we do for others, we do to him, and that we will be judged on our works of mercy and justice. Take a moment to think about these works that the gospel mentions. Ask Christ to reign and rule in your heart and in the whole world.