Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17; Psalm 23:1-3, 5-6; 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28;Matthew 25:31-46
Whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me. (Matthew 25:40)
What do you think of when you think of a king? A regal throne? Valiant knights? A luxurious lifestyle? How about a shepherd? How about someone who spends his time “in the fields” taking care of his subjects and risking his life for his people?
The shepherd was a common image the prophets used to remind Israel’s kings of their calling. They preached that being a king wasn’t about wielding power or increasing wealth. It was about serving the people and taking special care of the neediest among them.
When Jesus spoke of his Second Coming, he used the image of a shepherd to describe the kind of ruler he was going to be and the kind of kingdom he was going to establish. He wants a kingdom where people care for the most vulnerable: the hungry, the thirsty, the sick, the homeless, and the forgotten. He wants his citizens to treat these “poor ones” just as they would treat him.
This emphasis on caring for the poor is at the heart of Catholic social teaching. According to this body of doctrine, Jesus, our King, doesn’t want any of his people to be without food, clothing, and shelter. Those who have more should care for those who have less. They should lift up the lowly and help establish a world where justice and peace take priority over profit and gain.
Every human being is created by God and has been redeemed by Jesus. This means that every person has great dignity and should be treated as the treasure he or she is. Poverty, homelessness, abandonment—they all inflict deep wounds on a person’s soul. Let’s do everything we can to reverse these conditions! Let’s make it a point to see Christ, our King, in all people, rich or poor, and to treat them with the dignity they deserve.
“Lord, teach us to stand up for the poor and forgotten. Help us follow your example of love and service.”~WAU