Thursday, February 18, 2016

40 Days of Reflection During Lent: Day 6

In late 2015, with the beginning of the Advent season (Dec 8, 2015 to Nov 20, 2016), Pope Francis welcomed in the Year of Mercy.  This theme ties directly with today's reading, taken from Matthew 25:31-46.


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?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you? 
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of these 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.”
It seems we are constantly bombarded by people on the street, panhandling for some reason or another.  I find myself sitting in my car looking at them and wondering how they came to this station in their lives or better yet, if they really need anything at all.  I find that I am placing my pre-conceived and ultimately mis-guided notions upon a total stranger that I don't know and self-justifying my lack of involvement.  

The above passage is a message from Jesus to his flock.  He tells us that in the end, we will all be judged and will find that our judgement will be how we acted and judged each other.  It is a warning of sorts that lets us know that we should be compassionate and helpful to every person.  How often do you find yourself saying, "I refuse to give or allow welfare to that person because they do drugs", or "That person looks like they could have a job and they are just being lazy"?  It is so easy to fall into the pitfall of judging people before assisting them.  

Jesus said: "...whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me."  With that in mind, try to go throughout the day and try not to imagine that person as being Christ.  Try to sit there in judgement of your Lord, and wonder what judgement the Lord will have for you when you stand before his throne.  

That thought frightens me greatly and I would rather purchase a hamburger or give the last dollars in my wallet than wonder what GOD will say to me on my judgement day.  I want to live like Jesus.  I want to live in Love.  Don't you?

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