This Sunday is the last of the Church’s year, and is the feast of Christ the King. The first reading speaks of the Lord’s personal and abiding care not only for the flock, but each member of it.
The Lord says this: I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view. As a shepherd keeps all his flock in view when he stands up in the middle of his scattered sheep, so shall I keep my sheep in view. I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered during the mist and darkness. I myself will pasture my sheep, I myself will show them where to rest–it is the Lord who speaks. I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong. I shall watch over the fat and healthy. I shall be a true shepherd to them.
As for you, my sheep, the Lord says this: I will judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and he-goats.
He cares, and yet there is judgement too.
His ministry does not do all things for the flock. We are invited to play our part.
As human beings we are better equipped to do this – for the most part. We can (often) respond to the caring, growing, developing, fulfilling our potential. We can share in the caring. And we can express our thanks for it in many, many, ways.
- What help do I need? And does he offer?
- What care can I show?
Photograph of painting by Duncan Grant from chancery chapel at Lincoln Cathedral. (c) 2012, Allen Morris.