7TH MARCH 2022
Lv 19:1-2.11-18; Ps 19:18.104.22.168; Mt 25:31-46
LOVE IS THE BEST RELIGION
Today’s Gospel describes the Last Judgment and its criterion using as an image the Palestinian shepherds’ practice of the nightly separation of the over-active and less docile goats from the docile sheep. Jesus promises that he will come in all his glory as a Judge (Christ’s Second Coming), to reward the good people and punish the bad people. This will be the final and the public separation of the good people from the evildoers.
The lessons: The parable teaches us that the main criterion of the Last Judgment will be the works of Christian charity, kindness, and mercy we have done for others, in whom we have actually served Christ, knowingly or unknowingly. The parable tells us that Christ, the Judge, is going to ask us six questions, and all of them are based on how we have cooperated with God’s grace to do acts of charity, kindness, and mercy for others, because Jesus actually dwells in them. The first set of questions: “I was hungry, thirsty, homeless. Did you give me food, drink, accommodation?” The second set of questions:” I was naked, sick, imprisoned. Did you clothe me? Did you help me by visiting me in my illness or in prison?” If the answers are yes, we will be eternally rewarded because we have cooperated with God’s grace by practicing charity. But if the answers are negative, we will be eternally punished.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, “If sometimes our poor people have had to die of starvation, it is not because God didn’t care for them, but because you and I didn’t give, were not instruments of love in the hands of God, to give them that bread, to give them that clothing; because we did not recognize Christ, when once more Christ came in distressing disguise.”
The Holy Bible, the Seven Sacraments, the Ten Commandments and the precepts of the Church are all meant to help us to practice corporal and spiritual works of charity (mercy), in this life so that we may become able to receive God’s love, our eternal reward of Heavenly bliss.
Sins of omission (in which, we fail to recognize those in need as our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we fail to serve them in love), are very serious matters leading us toward eternal punishment.