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Lectionary reflections - Year A
Sundays Before Advent
Christ the King

Ezekiel 34.11–16, 20–4
Ephesians 1.15–23
Matthew 25.31–46

Matthew 25 is all about preparedness. First of all, there are the foolish bridesmaids, who ran out of oil and so missed the wedding; then there is the slave who wasted his chance of increasing his one talent while the master was away, and now we have the sheep and the goats. All of these people and groups are unprepared for what is about to happen, and they face terrible consequences, for the stories are not just about the importance of being ready, but also about judgement. The people in the stories make their judgements. The foolish bridesmaids decide there is no great rush. The slave with one talent decides to do nothing, and the ‘goats’ decide that some people are not worth bothering about. God then makes his judgement and, unfortunately, it is completely different from theirs.

All the people standing at the throne of glory are taken aback by God’s judgement and, more particularly, by God’s judge. They were not expecting to see the Son of Man up there on the throne, looking completely at home, with angels around him carrying on as if they thought he was God. As the people are separated into two groups, one on the right hand and one on the left of this awesome yet recognizable figure, it is clear that both groups are equally puzzled. They are both, you might say, unprepared for this standard of judgement. Neither group had lived their lives expecting to have them judged by this Man, in this way. As their sentences are handed down, both groups say, ‘We didn’t know we would be judged for that.’

The judge does not explain himself, but he could have pointed to both the law and the prophets, which make it clear what God expects... .

Taken from Lectionary reflections year A by Jane Williams - Published by SPCK

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