Updated: Nov 22, 2020
CHRIST THE KING, Sunday, November 22, 2020
Celebrant: BLESSED BE GOD, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
People: And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever. Amen.
Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
A Reading from Ezekiel 34:11-20: The Lord God Will Seek Them Out
11 “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy.[a] I will feed them in justice.
17 “As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord God: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and male goats. 18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must muddy the rest of the water with your feet? 19 And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have muddied with your feet?
20 “Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: Behold, I, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.
Here ends the reading.
Response: Thanks be to God
1 O come, let us sing unto the Lord; *
let us heartily rejoice in the strength of our salvation.
2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving *
and show ourselves glad in him with psalms.
3 For the Lord is a great God *
and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are all the depths of the earth, *
and the heights of the hills are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it, *
and his hands prepared the dry land.
6 O come, let us worship and fall down, *
and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
7 For he is our God, *
and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
8 Today, if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts *
as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness,
9 When your fathers tested me, *
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my works.
10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation and said, *
“It is a people that err in their hearts, for they have not known my ways,”
11 Of whom I swore in my wrath *
that they should not enter into my rest.
A Reading from: 1 Corinthians 15:20-28
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming hose who belong to Christ.24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.27 For “God[a] has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him.28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.
Here ends the reading.
Response: Thanks be to God
The Holy GOSPEL of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 25:31-46
Response: Glory to you, Lord Christ.
The Final Judgment
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Response: Praise to you, Lord Christ.
Celebrant: Let us confess our faith in the words of the Apostle’s Creed
THE APOSTLES’ CREED
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
Celebrant: PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
In your own words, pray for your own needs, for those on your heart, for the peace of
the world, and for the Church.
Celebrant: ACT OF CONTRITION
Let us humbly confess our sins to Almighty God:
O GOD, We are VERY SORRY that we have sinned against you and for all the wrongs we have done and the good we have not done.
Take a moment in silence to share your confession to God with these words in your heart:
Especially I confess_______________________________.
Everyone: Forgive us for Jesus' sake, and grant us strength and wisdom to amend our lives. Amen.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen
Dear Jesus, we believe that you are truly present in the Holy Sacrament. We love you above all things, and we desire to possess you within our souls. And since we cannot now receive you sacramentally, we beseech you to come spiritually into our hearts. We unite ourselves to you, together with all your faithful people gathered around every altar of your Church, and we embrace you with all the affections of our souls. Never permit us to be separated from you. Amen.
COME LORD JESUS, and dwell in our hearts in the fullness of your strength; be our wisdom and guide us in right pathways; conform our lives and actions to the image of your holiness; and, in the power of your gracious might, rule over every hostile power that threatens or disturbs the growth of your kingdom, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
AND MAY THE PEACE OF GOD, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you now and always, Amen.
SOUL of Christ, sanctify me Body of Christ, save me Blood of Christ, inebriate me Water from the side of Christ, wash me Passion of Christ, strengthen me O good Jesus, hear me Within Thy wounds, hide me Separated from Thee let me never be From the malignant enemy, defend me At the hour of death, call me To come to Thee, bid me That I may praise Thee in the company Of Thy Saints for all eternity. Amen.
1. The secular year differs from the Church Year. In the secular tradition, people often take time to reflect on the past year, ponder the one beginning, and make resolutions in that light to be better. The Church Year ends with a focus of Christ the King and his coming return at the close of the age. If we reflect on our past year in this light, what sort of resolutions might you make to be a better servant of Christ?
2. Currently living Christians are referred to as the Church Militant. How do you see yourself engaged in “spiritual warfare”?
3. In our Collect we read that it is God’s will to “restore all things” in Christ the King. How do you understand this in the light of the description of us as “divided and enslaved by sin”?
MATTHEW 25:31-46 Here is the majestic climax of the discourse, which is not simply a parable, but a prophecy of the universal judgment that will indeed come. Since the Cross is now near to Him, Jesus raises the hearer to the sight of the glory of the Son of Man on His judgment seat and the whole world before Him.
The standard of judgment is uncalculated mercy toward others. The works produced by faith are emphasized, for saving faith always produces righteous works. What we do reflects our true inner state. The least (v. 40) refers to all the poor and the needy. The needs described in this parable include both physical and spiritual needs. Thus, the hungry or thirsty (v. 44) are not only those who need food and drink, but also those who hunger and thirst for the hope of the gospel.
25:32 Christ uses sheep to illustrate the righteous, for they follow His voice and are gentle and productive. Goats indicate the unrighteous, for they do not follow the shepherd and they walk along cliffs, which represent sin.
25:34 Inherit is a term used with regard to sons and daughters rather than strangers or servants, for the righteous become children of God by adoption (Gal 4:4–7).
25:40 To see Christ in everyone is the fulfillment of the great commandment to love your neighbor as yourself (22:39).
25:41 That the fire was prepared for the devil shows that God did not create hell for man; rather, people choose this torment by their coldness of heart.
34-40 The change from "Son of Man" (see comment on Mk 8:31) to "King" (vv.31, 34) is not at all unnatural; for the Son of Man in Da 7:13-14 approaches the Ancient of Days to receive "a kingdom," and here that kingdom is consummated (see comment on 24:30). The kingship motif has long since been hinted at or, on occasion, made fairly explicit to certain persons. Yet Jesus still associates his work with his Father, something he loves to do. He addresses the sheep, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father ." They are "blessed" inasmuch as they now receive their inheritance), which presupposes a relationship with him. That inheritance is the kingdom. This glorious inheritance, the consummated kingdom, was the Father's plan for them from the beginning.
MORE NOTES: The reason the righteous are invited to take their inheritance is that they have served the King's "brothers". The reason for admission to the kingdom in this parable is more evidential than causative, as is suggested by the surprise of the righteous (vv.37-39). When he is questioned, the King replies that doing the deeds mentioned to the least of his brothers is equivalent to doing it to him (v.40), and by implication to refuse help to the King's brothers is sacrilege.
25: 41-45 The condemnation is awful. The "goats" are cursed: they are banished from the King's presence and sent to the eternal fire. Hell is here described in categories familiar to Jews; The kingdom was prepared for the righteous (v.34); hell was prepared for the Devil and his angels but also serves as the doom of those guilty of the sins of omission of which Jesus here speaks—refusing to show compassion to King Messiah through helping the least of his brothers. There is no significance in the fact that the "goats" address Jesus as "Lord," for at this point there is no exception whatever to confessing Jesus as Lord.
More important is the surprise of the sheep (vv.37-39) and the goats (v.44), a major part of the parable, though rarely discussed. Three things can be said with confidence. (1) Neither the sheep nor the goats are surprised at the place the King assigns them but rather at the reason given for this—i.e., that they are admitted or excluded on the basis of how they treated Jesus. (2) The surprise of the righteous makes it impossible to think that works of righteousness win salvation. The sheep did not show love to gain a final reward, not did the goats fail to show it to flout final retribution. (3) The parable therefore presents a test eliminating the possibility of hypocrisy. If the goats had thought that their treatment of Jesus' "brothers" would gain them the kingdom, they would doubtless have treated them compassionately. But Jesus is interested in a righteousness of the whole person, a righteousness that comes from the heart. As people respond to his disciples and align themselves with their distress and afflictions, they align themselves with the Messiah who identifies himself with them. True disciples will love one another and serve the least brother with compassion; in so doing they unconsciously serve Christ. Those who have little sympathy for the Gospel of the kingdom will remain indifferent and, in so doing, reject King Messiah.
We must not think that the Bible is unconcerned for the poor and the oppressed but that is not the center of interest here.
46 The same word "eternal" modifies "punishment" and "life." This word refers to life or punishment in the age to come; it is "everlasting."