Take a moment to picture divisive politics ruling the land, military alliances and violent crimes taking place at alarming rates, policies privileging the wealthy, and a society ruled by its greed. This is the world in which Ezekiel, instructed by God, is to prophesy.

Hence, Ezekiel’s message to the people takes a turn in today’s reading to focus on the ruling class and their treatment of others. God, speaking through Ezekiel, is clear: Judgment will come for those who ignore the weak, discard the poor, and ravage the sick. God will return for the lost, forgotten, and lonely.

This is good news for those who find themselves scattered, devastated, and weak; for those who do not feel represented; for those whose voices go unheard. This is good news for any person or group of people who long to be gathered in by the One who promises justice, mercy, and love.

In our own world of division, violence, wealth, and greed, might Ezekiel have a message for us? Might we have ears to hear it?

For, says the Lord, a shepherd is coming to feed the hungry, to make right that which is wrong, to heal the sick, to rescue the brokenhearted, to find the lost, to carry the weary. Hearing the proclamation of the actions the Lord will take to restore wholeness to the land and to a people invites those who have ears to hear and eyes to see and hearts to open to join in the restorative actions of God.

Come to us, O Shepherd. Invite us to be part of your actions for peace, for justice, for love. Lead us in the way everlasting. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 25:31-46

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Lectionary Week
November 16–22, 2020
Scripture Overview

The Bible uses metaphors meaningful in its time, and the image of a shepherd and sheep evokes protection, care, and safety. Through the prophet Ezekiel, God declares that all the scattered sheep will be joined together again. The weak and oppressed will receive special protection and justice from God. The psalmist says that the Israelites are the sheep of God’s pasture. In the Gospel reading, Jesus describes the final judgment as separating the sheep (those who are his) from the goats (those who are not). The distinction is made in part based upon how they treated the weakest among them. Although the epistle does not use the imagery of sheep, it describes the promises of a glorious inheritance reserved for those in God’s flock.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24. What does it mean for you that God seeks you as an individual and as part of your faith community?
Read Psalm 100. In times of trial or pain, how do you gather with others to praise God?
Read Ephesians 1:15-23. How do you express gratitude to God and for your faith community?
Read Matthew 25:31-46. How do you sit with unresolved questions of faith? How does asking questions of the Bible strengthen your faith or your comfort in not having answers to your questions?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.