The Sunday before Advent celebrates the feast of Christ the King, which ‘begins at the end’. In the words of I Corinthians 15:24: ‘Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.’ It describes the second Advent of Christ the King. And we live in between these two advents. How should we live in these ‘in between times’. In order to help us Jesus told a story about sheep and goats. At the end of the day the farmers separated their flock between sheep and goats which had been walking together. And Jesus clarified this familiar image explaining that the sheep are the people who minister to needy people, the hungry, the thirsty, the poor, the prisoners and the sick. The goats were those who faced with the same people in need did nothing to help them. Jesus says that what is done for the least of his brothers and sisters is done for him. To serve them is to serve him. The plight of the neighbour and the presence of Christ are bound together. As one writer put it: ‘No one could tell me where my soul might be. I looked for God but God eluded me. I sought my neighbor and found all three.’

Reading: Ezekiel 34:11-16, Matthew 25:31-46

Questions to think about:

  • Are you a sheep or a goat? How do you know?
  • ‘The more we learn to discern Christ challenging us through the poor, the more prepared we shall be to face him on n the day of judgement.’ Discuss.
  • Identify some of the ways we try to put this into practice in our lives and in the life and work of our Church.