(Adults, this reflection attempts to help the child answer the question "Who are you, God? It also tries to help them answer for themselves, "Who am I, God?")
When we listen to the Gospel for this Sunday, we hear Jesus tell a rather strange parable. He speaks about someone who is coming, and we wonder, who is this person?
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.
We have not heard about 'the Son of Man' before. Who can he be? We do not know this person.
He comes and he sits on a throne. So this person is a king. But who is he?
He is someone who has angels with him. We know that angels are messengers of God. Could this king be God?
And then he talks about sheep:
All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.
We have heard Jesus speak about sheep and a shepherd before. He says,
“I am the good shepherd. (John 10:11)
This Son of Man,
this king on a throne in glory,
this one with messengers of God...
could he be Jesus, the Good Shepherd?
Could the Good Shepherd...be King...?
Then Jesus says the King calls his sheep. He speaks of feeding and clothing, welcoming and taking good care of...all the things the Good Shepherd does for his sheep. He says,
‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father...for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’
But here is something new! If we listen carefully, we hear that this time it is the sheep who are giving to the shepherd. Imagine giving to the Good Shepherd... How the sheep must love that, being able to give to the One who gives them so much!
The sheep are a little confused, though. They say,
‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?
They don't know when they gave to the shepherd who is king. But he replies,
‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’
Oh! Did you hear? He calls the sheep his family! We have always known that he cares for them, but did we know that they are his family? We love our family! The shepherd who is king loves the sheep. I wonder who these sheep could be?
The Shepherd King says that they give to him whenever they give help to the littlest ones of the family. Who are the littlest ones of a family?
Well, that is something to think about.
In our homes, there are people who take care of us, aren't there? There are people--our mothers and fathers, our aunts and uncles and grandparents--who give us food when we are hungry and who pour us a drink when we are thirsty. They help us to put our clothing on; they teach us how to get dressed on our own. They are giving help to the little ones of the family. I wonder, when they do this, are they giving to the Shepherd who is King? Remember, Jesus says,
just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.
When they help us, they are giving to him. We are giving people a way to give to the King! How important we are!