From the Word of the Day
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.’…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.’ (Matthew 25: 34-36/40)
How should we live this Word
This formidable fresco of the final judgment in the Sistine Chapel has aroused great fascination throughout history and even today in our secularized modern reader. The concrete and radical way it presents ethical needs on the basis of which are decided the destiny and the ultimate truth of humans are presented in this evangelical picture with such a simple, clear, and immediate language, that all pretentions and ideological reserves fall. In the end, every person will be judged for salvation or for definitive ruin on the basis of these concrete gestures of active solidarity in daily encounters with other needy human beings. This is the fundamental message of Matthew’s Gospel.
Jesus Himself stresses at the end of the text, the internal theological value with one solemn affirmation: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me”. Mother Teresa was struck by this text and she made it the program of her life. She stated that these words were the most important of the Gospel, “You did for me”.
Thus, the decisive criteria for salvation or damnation for all people is not simply the love shown to the little and needy, but its Christological value, that is, Christ’s identification with them. In other words, the solidarity of the eschatological judge with the little ones does not depend on the moral quality of the indigent or on the subjective intentions of those who accept or refuse the needy. It is an objective fact full of meaning and decisive value for salvation or damnation for every gesture of acceptance or refusal of the needy person. This interpretation of ‘serving’ brings another important discovery: unity of life. In fact, multiple gestures of love are here led to unity, to an interior centre, to which to return and to cultivate so as to dilate it into many more works of love, without becoming exhausted, but also and above all, without dispersing oneself in a purely exterior activism.
In my pause for silent contemplation, guide me to render mercy and love to the needy for You and in You.
Lord, open my heart to spread Your Love!
The Voice of Pope Francis
We cannot flee from God’s Word. We will be judged on it; whether we have fed the hungry or given drink to the thirsty; if we have received the stranger and clothed the naked. _______________________________________________________________________