The Shepherd King
This week we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. Jesus is indeed our Lord and King but he defied the expectations of kingship for those in His time, and for us in ours. Throughout history, Kings and rulers used their armies to conquer lands and gain power and wealth. Jesus conquered sin by offering His own life. He came, not as a powerful ruler to conquer lands, but as servant and shepherd of His flock and to pay the price for the sin of humankind. Jesus is both servant and king, king and servant. For Him, these two identities go hand in hand. He is both a leader who serves, and a servant who leads.
Jesus says, “Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant … For the Son of man came not to be served but to serve.” Jesus is a leader who serves, a king who walks among His people, not one who reigns from a mighty throne.
In Jesus, we have a king who not only serves, but is willing to die for us. Jesus defies our expectations and redefines the cultural understanding of who and what a king is. He uses His authority to teach others about God and God’s kingdom, and uses His power to heal the sick and grant sight to the blind. Jesus uses His position to be an example of how to live in response to God’s love.
But what does this all mean for us? Yes, we regard Jesus as our King who came to serve, but we are not kings ourselves. Each of us is, however, a leader in one way or another, which means we can follow Jesus’ example of servant leadership. We are called to use our leadership roles, whether it be at work, in our families or communities, to benefit others. While we are not the saviour of the world like Jesus, there are plenty of ways for us to be servant-leaders.
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus tells His disciples, “When the Son of Man comes in all His glory, with all His Angels, all the nations will sit before Him and He will separate them one from another as a Shepherd separates the sheep from the goats”. Jesus loves and cares for us as a shepherd does his sheep but also reminds us what makes us worthy to enter into His sheepfold, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Whatever you did to the least of these, you did for me”.
Let us honour Christ as our King, and follow His example, by leading and living as servant leaders who aim to serve others and especially those in greatest need.
Deacon Michael Khoury
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