“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that 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 something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’
Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me 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 nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’
Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The message of today’s Gospel seems obvious: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” However, Jesus rephrases the Golden Rule, instead offering concrete examples of how to best love one’s neighbor.
Whenever Christ tells us exactly what is expected, I get a little overwhelmed. The directness with which he shares the needs of our neighbors and our role in making sure those needs are met is leaves me no place to hide. It is my responsibility to care for the hungry, the stranger, the imprisoned. I cannot leave it to Christ or my Christian role models to address these issues alone – I must be part of the solution. As St. Teresa of Avila said, “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours.” To gain his presence in heaven, we must practice his mission on earth.
—Sara Spittler is the First Years Chaplain and a Religious Studies teacher at Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours;
no hands but yours; no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
the compassion of Christ must look out on the world.
Yours are the feet with which
He is to go about doing good.
Yours are the hands with which He is to bless His people.
—Attributed to St. Teresa of Avila
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