In today’s passage, we read how the Son of Man will separate the righteous from the unrighteous like a shepherd separates sheep from goats. It’s an apocalyptic passage that exposes the passivity of those who falsely believe they are righteous—goats who join the flock of sheep—but are uncharitable and do...
God of justice, mercy, and loving-kindness, assist us in our efforts to meet people’s needs; help us as well to pay attention to our own. Open our eyes to see the opportunities in front of us. Amen.
The Bible uses metaphors meaningful in their time, and the image of a shepherd and sheep evokes protection, care, and safety. Through the prophet Ezekiel, God declares that all the scattered sheep will be joined together again. The weak and oppressed will receive special protection and justice from God. The psalmist says that the Israelites are the sheep of God’s pasture. In the Gospel reading, Jesus describes the final judgment as separating the sheep (those who are his) from the goats (those who are not). The distinction is made in part based on how they treated the weakest among them. Although the epistle does not use the imagery of sheep, it describes the promises of a glorious inheritance reserved for those in God’s flock.
Read Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24. What does it mean for you that God seeks you as an individual and as part of your faith community?Read Psalm 100. In times of trial or pain, how do you gather with others to praise God?Read Ephesians 1:15-23. How do you express gratitude to God and for your faith community?Read Matthew 25:31-46. How do you sit with unresolved questions of faith? How does asking questions of the Bible strengthen your faith or your comfort in not having answers to your questions?
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