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Why Sheep?

December 1, 2014

 

Miguel Ortiz’s preaching from the mass on Sunday of Christ the King.

Welcome all to this Sunday of Christ the King. My name is Miguel Ortiz and I am a senior here with a major in computer science. Not only do I attend classes here, but I also tutor computer science and CIS students, I am the Liturgical Coordinator for Lectors, and I am part of the Student Leadership and Ministry program, also called SLAM. When I was invited to preach for this Mass, I was delighted because I would get to do what every Dominican is called to do—preach! As you may already know, today is Christ the King, so I will focus on our LORD King, Jesus Christ.

As you just heard in the readings, Jesus refers to sheep as the righteous people, but why sheep? What do we know about sheep and what do we know of their shepherds. Well, we know that sheep can be kind of dumb, not really doing anything but eating, and that may be so with some of us here. But Jesus refers to us as sheep because sheep have always been so important to society because of their agricultural benefits. Also, sheep can recognize their shepherd by their face and voice. This is the main reason why Jesus refers to us as sheep, because we are called to follow our shepherd, Jesus Christ.

Then, if Jesus is our shepherd, what can we expect from him as a leader? We know through the stories of the Gospel readings that Jesus is not simply our leader, but our king. Now, many might have a skewed view of what a king might look like or what a king might do. But a just king does right for his subjects. Aright king acts like a shepherd. Our king, Jesus Christ, serves us and cares for us the way a shepherd looks over his flock. No matter where his sheep might go wrong, he always goes to correct it. If we are hurt, the shepherd heals. If we are lost, the152 shepherd finds. And if we feel unloved and alone, Jesus gives us love and company. In our second reading we hear: Christ the King “will put all his enemies under his feet” including death. Our king is a great a powerful king, but a king that loves us to the point of death on a cross. Our shepherd died for our sins because of his love for us, and so we should strive to be righteous sheep.

I heard a story once that I have modified to fit our lives, and it goes like this: There was a college student who was praying one night and heard from Jesus. Jesus told him that he would come visit him the next day. The student, excited for the news, woke up the next morning and began to prepare for the visit. While the student was doing his bed, his RA knocked on the door to invite him to an event where he would go and spend time with his peers. But he said, “No thank you. I’m too busy preparing for something more important.” The day continued and as the student dusted and finished up his chores, his little sister called asking for help on a big research paper she had to do. But he said, “No I can’t help you. I’m really busy preparing for something really important.” Finally, the student had finished all his chores and was waiting for Jesus to walk through the door, and he heard a knock on the door. It was his best friend who had just broken up with his girlfriend, and the student felt really bad but he said, “Sorry I can’t talk to you now. I have something important to do in a little bit.” The night arrived and the student was mad and prayed, asking Jesus why he never came to visit him. And Jesus replied, saying, “I tried to visit, but you were always doing something more important”.

Today we celebrate our king—Christ the King, and we do that by bending our knee to him and acknowledging that he is our one king. We need to remember the great love he has for us. We refer to him as our shepherd because he leads us to eternal happiness. If we want Jesus to be our shepherd though, we need to remember to be righteous sheep. The Gospel says this: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers or sisters of mine, you did for me.” And “Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me”. The kind of sheep we are called to be are sheep that follow their shepherd, and sheep that serve our brothers and sisters. Are you going to be a good sheep, or are you doing something more important?Miguel Ortiz

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