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Matthew 25:31-46

The Word of God

‘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. 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. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 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.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “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.” Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’ 

Matthew 25:31-46
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • The things we are asked to do are so simple: give food and drink to ‘Jesus’ in those who are hungry and thirsty; to clothe ‘Jesus’ in those who are naked; to visit ‘Jesus’ in those who are sick and in jail. Whether we realise it or not, every time we spontaneously take care of a brother or sister in need it is Jesus himself we are serving.
    • An important point to remember is ‘You did it to me, not for me’. Jesus identifies himself especially with the person in need. Every time we neglect to help a brother or sister in need, we neglect Jesus himself. Let us not forget to reach out to others as we are asked to.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Jesus is very clear about the criteria for knowing whether I am a sheep or a goat - how have I loved, how have I cared for other especially the poor, the needy and the marginalised? Looking back over the last day or week, recall times when I have acted as Jesus asked, and give thanks.
    • Also recall times I have failed to act as Jesus asks, and seek forgiveness. Is there anything I can do to try make good the harm my failure may have caused?
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    • Where are the hungry, the naked, the homeless who would call on me if they could reach me? Or have I so organised my life that the needy never impinge on me? Lord, you have made this the sole criterion of judgment. How will I measure up?
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Here we have separation into sheep and goats – and elsewhere in the Gospels too, we meet parables of separation: good crop from weeds; wheat from chaff; good fish from those to be thrown away.
    • It’s all not so much about a code of conduct in this parable – as about solidarity: ‘What is your solidarity like – with the hungry, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the prisoner?’ After all, in the vision of the Risen One on the road to Damascus, Saul (later the Apostle Paul) was charged with persecuting Jesus himself: in the person of the followers of Jesus that he was persecuting.
    • All the down-trodden ones are part of ‘the Whole Christ’. Jesus has entered into solidarity with them – and we are to throw in our lot there too.
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    • Only the Spirit of Jesus will help me to see what Jesus says, to recognise how, in my life, I embody the actions that express Jesus’ attitudes. I pray that the Holy Spirit guide me to recognise the good that God is doing in my life and that I not fall prey to any poor spirit that makes me gloomy or judgemental.
    • Both the good and the bad need the character of their actions pointed out to them, both are unaware of how they serve or do not serve. Even if this parable motivates me, I pray that my actions be sincere and come from my heart. May whatever good I do be an expression of my gratitude to God who does so much for me.
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    • This parable of the sheep and the goats is not about the future, but about opening my eyes here and now to the needs of my neighbour - the hungry, the homeless, the refugee, the isolated lonely ones. Jesus identifies with each one. If I turn away from my brothers and sisters in need, I am turning away from my brother Jesus.
    • The Father delights in those who show kindly, compassionate, practical love to those in need.
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    • This message is simple, Lord. You will judge me on my love and service of others. You are there in the poor, the sick, the prisoners, the strangers. May I recognise your face.
    • Where are the hungry, the naked, the homeless who would call on me if they could reach me? Or have I so organised my life that the needy never impinge on me? Lord, you have made this the sole criterion of judgment. How will I measure up?
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • This long and exciting parable has a simple message: ‘Minister to the needy around you, else you are missing the whole point of living!’ St Matthew’s hearers had a difficulty about what would happen to non-Jews, since they themselves were the Chosen People. Jesus says that with his coming into the world, everyone is a ‘chosen person’. Everyone is to be treated with limitless respect. This is the way to get ready for God’s final community of love. Jesus is already present, but in disguise, in every person. Only at the End will he and they be revealed ‘in glory’.
    • What do I see when I see the needy? Do I focus on the hidden glory of others? How would I fare if human history were to be terminated today?
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Each group goes to the place it has chosen. Those whose lives were oriented to love and mercy come to the love and mercy of God. Those who excluded people in need from their lives have excluded themselves from God’s kingdom where there is only acceptance and love. The king mentions conditions that occur in all places and times: hungry and thirsty people, immigrants and people without clothing, sick and prisoners. The story does not use fancy words about justice and solidarity, but speaks of food, clothing, something to drink, protection from elements. It doesn’t recommend “love”, but specific actions like giving, welcoming, visiting, taking care of. What matter is not a theoretical love but compassion that helps the person in need.