Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 25:31-46):
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.
‘Then the King will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.” Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?” And the King will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”
‘Next he will say to those on his left hand, “Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you never gave me food; I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink; I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me.” Then it will be their turn to ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or naked, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?” Then he will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.”
‘And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life.’
It’s hard to pick your favourite scripture passage. All of it is the Word of God after all! But this passage always has a habit of really grabbing me and giving me a right good shake! The passage provides a harsh lesson yet it is also so undeniably beautiful and perfect in its love.
There is perhaps no greater test in life than treating each and every person as if they were Jesus. Yet that is precisely what we are called to do.
Jesus is living. He is as alive today as he has ever been. He is alive in your family, he is alive in your friends, and he is alive in your work colleagues. He is alive in the beggar sitting on the street corner, he is alive in the elderly person sitting in the nursing home, and he is alive in prisoners.
But perhaps something we fail to grasp from this passage is that Jesus is alive in you. That is why Jesus expects you to feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and imprisoned. We can do none of this without the help of Christ. His love burns inside us and wills us to do all of these things for the good of others and, ultimately, for the good of the Father’s kingdom.
Let Jesus flourish in you today and every day. Let him take over. Let him be the one in charge. Let him take your hands so that he may use them to give food to the hungry. Let him use your arms to wrap them around and welcome a stranger. Let him help you to clothe the naked. Let him take you into the homes of the sick and into the cells of the prisoner so that they may feel his love through you.
We are all called to be missionaries for Christ. We are all called to take his love to the four corners of the earth and to bring people closer to him through our example.