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.”
IN OTHER WORDS
When I was a deacon, I once found myself at a buffet table being offered help with food by one who said in half-jest , “I’ll serve him first because he’ll be my lawyer when we are to face God.” I shared this experience to the Parish Priest, commenting how people exaggerate their view of us priests. As a response to my comment, the Parish Priest cited to me the words of Christ, “I assure you that anyone who gives you a drink of water because you belong to me will certainly receive a reward.” (Mk. 9:41) This citation struck me and made me tell myself: “I need a lawyer too and a much better one.” So each time I encounter a poor person, I tell myself: “This one will be my lawyer before God.”
The words of Christ in today’s Gospel should ring in our ears as words of caution: “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Of course, it sounds too selfish when we look at the poor, the marginalized, and the needy as mere means for our entrance to heaven. We need to pray for real conversion, so we can truly see the face of Jesus in their faces and feel the cry of Jesus in their cries, and so love them and help them in a way we should be loving and helping Jesus. Jesus identifies himself with the most disadvantaged of persons and this should make us look differently at the order in this world. Whereas the world gives importance to the rich and the powerful, we need to tend our gaze at and our hearts to the ight of the most destitute of our brothers and sisters.
- Fr. Jerry Songcog, SVD | Madagascar
The Word in other words 2016
An annual project of Logos Publications, The WORD in Other Words Bible Diary contains daily scripture readings and reflections written by priest, brothers, and sisters of the three congregations founded by St. Arnold Janssen (the SVD, SSpS, and SSpSAP). It hopes to serve as a daily companion to readers who continually seek the correlation of the Word of God and human experience.