“LOVED BY THE SHEPHERD KING”
Saint Matthew 25. 31-46
2nd Last Sunday: 16 November Anno + Domini 2014
Fr Jay Watson SSP
In The Name + of Jesus
“Save me, O God” King David cried out—and thus too it was written into the Psalter. In today’s appointed Gradual you heard it restated as your own cry of need—a Kyrie of sorts “Save me, O God.”
Good words to keep on ones lips as the Parousia approaches. “The day is surely drawing near when God’s Son, the Anointed, shall with great majesty appear as Judge appointed.” [TLH 611.1]
Christ does not tell you when He will return exactly but it will be soon and you are to be vigilant and ready. The throne He will sit upon for the final judgment may be a throne such as Solomon had or not. The “throne” which, like the “kingdom,” is but an extension of the King. Your King is not a tyrant or despot. Your King is not cruel or vindictive—save for His righteous anger at sin, Satan, death, and Hell.
Your Judge is a Shepherd Who is good and loving. He is like the perfect Father, Brother, and Groom because He is perfect. This judging Herdsman is not dressed in a black robe but is wearing flesh and blood just like you—save for its horribly awesome and beautiful wounds and scars (“crimson trophies won”) He wears no powdered wig but His sacred Head now wounded retains the marks of His crown of thorns. And one wonders why the angels hide their faces? Can one do anything but genuflect?
The division between the sheep and the goats is the final pronouncement of the celestial courts verdict. Perfect good does perfect justice and judgment. Jesus sits in calm repose and majesty because His being extended, lifted up on high with pierced hands thrust out, has been already accomplished: “it is finished!” He will sit as comfortably on His throne as He does on this altar, as He did in the homely and friendly house of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
The fear and apprehension is to be meditated upon not then, not at the Eschaton, but now in the struggle of the Church Militant, under the cross. You are slain in the spirit—the “old Adam” NOW in the daily drowning of sin. You sing these weighty hymns now not at the final trump.
You do not do The King’s Law. You are a scofflaw, a brigand, and bandit. You are a wolfshead, a murdering, thieving, back-stabbing, fornicating, lustful, and covetous traitor to your King—Who is your Father! Repent.
Every year this text is preached and the same questions arise. You ask the same things that the sheep ask the Lord. What is the answer? What is the answer to every question but Christ Himself.
Yes you are to feed the hungry and you don’t do it. You give to your loved ones and sometimes you give to the real needy—but only if they pass some ‘worthiness’ litmus test your warped self-righteousness constructs. You don’t take in the stranger because more than anything else you don’t like the stranger. You don’t clothe the naked who need clothes and far more importantly you don’t clothe the brokenhearted and lonely with the warmth of forgiveness and family inclusion. You don’t keep the Second Table of the Law and for that you should be damned. You should hear the words “depart from me.” You should be cursed into everlasting fire. But you are not. The fire is quenched, like the fiery darts of the old evil flow. The burning of Hades is extinguished in the Water of Life Jesus. The flames and heat are doused by the Water and Blood flowing from His Body—His riven side. The inferno is flooded away in the Holy Water + of Baptismal regeneration. The heart-burn, the soul-burn, and the fear-burn are calmed in the Blood of His Holy Chalice—the tears He shed over you and then the joyful tears of life He pours into you: Peace.
So yes, you are to love your neighbor as yourself and you are to strive to live both a holy life and a fruitful life of giving and sharing. You are also to love the King perfectly—the First Table of the 10 Commands.
But you are as clueless and oblivious as were the Sheep when they asked The Lord “when saw we Thee…?”
The facile and incorrect answer is mis-found in worried and self-absorbed scurrying of business and methodistic check-lists. The way of righteousness is apprehended, received, only in The Righteous One.
Jesus kept all the Law and by being chosen and adopted by Him, by being placed into His wounds, His side, His Body, and His Church, you have all that He did and is! Jesus loved the World and died for the world. Jesus gave meat to the hungry and drink to the thirsty. Jesus placed raiment on the naked and visited the diseased and imprisoned.
Believe in Him and His merits are yours. You are royal priests and blessed by The Father because He has made His Father your Father. This kingdom, this King is yours because you are predestinated for it, for Him, “from the foundation of the world.”
With your trespasses atoned for, with your failures washed away by He Who was the “least of these” you are placed on His right hand. With Jesus, “for you” becoming Himself hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick with your sins unto suffering and death, and imprisoned in the tomb of death, you are touched + and fed by His own right hand.
Your names + are written in the Book of Life, His Body, in His Blood. “Come ye, blessed…inherit the King.”
In The Name of The Father and of The + Son and of The Holy Ghost