Judgment Day: All of our life is, in a sense, a preparation for the judgment we face at life´s end. That is when we go before Our Lord and give account for everything we have done or failed to do. No excuses will be accepted, no more “second chances” given. Jesus´ mercy doesn’t mean he ignores justice. “Mercy differs from justice, but is not in opposition to it,” wrote Pope John Paul II in his 1980 encyclical Rich in Mercy. Would I be ready to face the Lord this very day? If not, why not? What facet of my life do I need to change right now?
The Sheep: The sheep to be saved are the people who helped others, who showed mercy, who didn´t turn a cold shoulder to someone in need. Our Lord Doesn´t praise them for their many prayers so much as for their good deeds. Prayer is important, of course. But it´s not enough. Christ wants our love for him to be reflected in our love for others. Oddly, many of those to be saved will not have realized that it was really Christ they were helping. Do I see Christ in those who need help? Do I see Christ in my family members? My co-workers? The demanding boss? The unpopular classmate? The smelly beggar?
The Goats: It´s scary to think that those who will be lost were not necessarily “bad people.” In this passage Our Lord doesn´t chide them for doing wicked things. He doesn´t accuse them of starting wars or peddling drugs or committing acts of terrorism. Rather, he faults them for the sin of omission, for things they didn´t do. “You gave me no food …. You gave me no clothing.” We may think ourselves good Christians because we don´t cheat on our taxes or miss Mass on Sundays. But acts of charity are key, too. We should do these without neglecting the others.
Fr Maroun El Kazzi