November 20, 2011: Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King
Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who 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 drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?’ …
And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, 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 no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46)
In this parable of the sheep and the goats, it again references that Jesus will return at some time as he has promised. Everyone will be gathered before Jesus, not just certain nations or tribes of people which shows Jesus inclusivity. Notice that the sheep, although they acted mercifully and justly, are not immediately aware of what they’ve done to please Jesus. The love shown by these deeds of mercy spring from true faith lived out by the sheep. They simply acted faithfully. Also, the goats were rejected based on what they failed to do, not because of anything they did. Failing to do good for someone else is as wrong as doing outright evil. This parable also shows us that many times, Jesus’ most loved people can be disguised as the most undesirable in society – the beggars, the strangers, the ill or the imprisoned.
This week, let’s look for Jesus in everyone that we meet, even those that seem unlovable. It’s easy to love someone when they are nice in return. We are also called to love those who are less than kind to us or are angry and having a bad day. Those are perhaps the people who need God’s love the most. And, let’s look to serve people on an ongoing basis, not so that we are noticed but so often that it becomes easy for us to love everyone.
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