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Full lections can be read here.
Based on the Readings as Set
First Reading (Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24)
The Lord God proclaims that he will gather the people of Israel together from their places of exile like a shepherd who gathers his sheep and provides them with lavish care. Those who have abused the weak will be destroyed and the nation’s relationship with God will be restored under David as its shepherd-king.
The Psalmist exhorts the whole earth to joyful praise of Yahweh, creator of all, and to come into his presence as his people, sheep of his pasture. Yahweh is good, loving and faithful across the generations.
The Psalmist invites the people of God into the joyful presence of Yahweh with thanks and praise. As creator of all things he is king over all other powers and we are his sheep, fed in his pasture.
Second Reading (Ephesians 1:15-23)
St. Paul is caught up in the knowledge of God’s great power made known in the resurrection and ascension of Jesus to a place above all other rule and authority. He prays that the Ephesians will experience this power more and more as they come to know Christ in whom their hope for redemption is secure.
Gospel (Matthew 25:31-46)
Using the image of a shepherd separating the sheep from the goats, Jesus teaches that he himself will occupy a throne of solemn judgment when he returns in great glory. All the nations will be held to account for how they have treated the least of those whom he identifies as extensions of himself, his family.
- God/Christ as shepherd-king: savior, provider, protector, judge
- The people of God as “sheep” and God/Christ as “shepherd”
- The relationship/identification of God/Christ with his people
- Trusting in the awesome power of God, creator, re-creator, king
- God/Christ as the shepherd who sets all things right
- In the presence of God/Christ