March 11, 2019

Gospel MT 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.”
Jesus tells His disciples that when He comes “in His glory” that He will separate “the sheep from the goats.”
The sheep being those who care for the people among us who are in need or suffering. The goats being those who ignore the needs of others.
Jesus goes on to say that the sheep (the good and caring people) will join Him in His Kingdom, while the goats (those who ignore people in need) will proceed to the “eternal fire.”
Many of us who are trying to follow the ways of the Lord are torn between our human and divine natures.
Our divine nature tells us to “Help the guy.”
Our human nature says, “Don’t be a fool.”
Jesus does not make any mention of the worthiness or unworthiness, the gratefulness or ungratefulness of those who are in need of food, drink, and clothing, or those who are sick or in prison.
He simply says, “Do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.”
(Luke 6:35)
I do my best to give in accordance with the divine that lives within me, but my human nature continues to surface.
Like Jesus, my homeless friend Robbie constantly calls me to a higher standard of goodness. He says, “Jim, I messed up again and spent my money on pot. I can’t pay my rent. Can you help me out?”
My frustration level spikes! Even as I help him, I find myself giving him a lecture about the need for him to be responsible.
Hanging his head, he thanks me and in the next breath asks if I can give him another twenty dollars because he’s broke. At that, I lose it and say, “Robbie, I’m not your personal banker!”
So much for giving without “prerequisite” and with an attitude of Christian charity.
I am reminded of what my late friend and mentor, Father Richard told me: “We are Christian and at the same time we are always becoming Christian.”
Rather than concerning myself with whether Robbie is grateful or can become a responsible person, I need to focus on myself.
Can I give like Jesus, “looking for nothing in return,” not reasonableness, responsible behavior, or even gratitude?
Help me to remember Lord, all I have has been given to me by You.
Help me to share your gifts with a joyful heart!
“The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-7