The least are Jesus among us Print E-mail
Kevin Perrotta
Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of
the Universe

Ez 34:11-12, 15-17
23:1-3, 5-6
1 Cor 15:20-26, 28
Mt 25:31-46

As always on Sundays, today's first reading and Gospel reading are coordinated. But they fit together less like a couple of Lego pieces than like the eastbound and westbound lanes of an expressway.

What is the same in both texts is the message that God intends to judge our cooperation or non-cooperation with his plans.

In Ezekiel's prophecy, God declares that he is coming to shepherd his sheep. According to ancient Near Eastern idiom, that's a way of saying he's coming as king to straighten things out. He will help those in need and destroy those who have failed to help the needy. "I will judge between one sheep and another," God says (Ez 24:17).

In the Gospel, Jesus depicts himself stepping into this role. At the end of history, he will "sit on his glorious throne," assemble the human flock before him, and "separate them one from another" (Mt 25:31-32). Those who have helped neighbors in need will be rewarded; those who closed their hearts to the needy will be punished.

But while the two readings belong to the same road, the traffic is moving in opposite directions.

In Ezekiel, God declares that, since the human leaders of his people have been failing to help those in their charge, God himself is going to come and care for them. This prophecy, of course, looks toward Jesus. In his coming, Jesus did in fact forgive sins, heal the sick and give rest to the fearful and anxious.

And now he has commissioned us, his followers, to extend his ministry everywhere. We've become the agents by which he brings his compassionate help to needy neighbors of all kinds.

But here's the surprising part. According to the Gospel, when, as agents of Jesus we reach out to a neighbor in need, we encounter  -- Jesus! "Whatever you did for one of the least brothers or sisters of mine, you did for me" (Mt 21:40). Jesus identifies himself with whatever needy person we may ever meet. So as we extend his love to that person, meet him in that person!

In the interaction, then, between a person in need and a person who meets the need, Jesus is doubly present. If we're looking for him, wanting to get to know him better, that interaction is the place to be.

Reflection Question:

What neighbor in need is at the top of my agenda this week?

Kevin Perrotta is the editor and an author of the Six Weeks with the Bible series (Loyola Press), teaches part time at Siena Heights University, and leads Holy Land pilgrimages. He lives in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Pope's Prayer Intention: November 2017 Print E-mail
Beginning in 2017, the Pope will present one prepared prayer intention per month, rather than two.
Pope's November Prayer Intention

Christians in Asia

That Christians in Asia, bearing witness to the Gospel in word and deed, may promote dialogue, peace, and mutual understanding, especially with those of other religions.

Daily Scripture Readings Print E-mail
Sunday, Sep. 01, 2013 -- 10:21 AM
Click here to view or subscribe to the daily
Scripture readings from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website.
Holy Days of Obligation Print E-mail

The following are Holy Days of Obligation for 2017.

Holy Days of Obligation Description
Sunday, Jan. 1
Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God
Thursday, May 25
Ascension Thursday
Tuesday, Aug. 15
Solemnity of the Assumption
Wednesday, Nov. 1
All Saints Day
Friday, Dec. 8
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Monday, Dec. 25
Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)
Prayer to St. Raphael Print E-mail

photo of Pilgrim Icon of St. Raphael

Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of those who journey by land or sea or air, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners.

We beg you, assist us in all our needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the "medicine of God" we humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of our souls and the ills that afflict our bodies.

We especially ask your guidance of our diocese as we journey toward the rebuilding of a cathedral bearing your name, and the great grace of purity to prepare us to be temples of the Holy Spirit. As our intercessor, beg the Blessed Trinity to prosper the work of our hands and, above all, to bring us, face-to-face, into their Holy presence.


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