FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2016
CORPORAL WORKS OF MERCY
November 2, 2016
Today’s gospel: Matthew 25:31-46
At the end of time there will be the judgment of the nations. “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..” (v.31-32). That will be the time of final judgment, when one will find out if he goes to heaven or to hell.
And what is the one criterion? It is what we did to the least of our brethren. Specifically, it is about 6 of the 7 corporal works of mercy–feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, caring for the ill, visiting the prisoner (v.35-36). If we did works of mercy, we go to heaven. If not, we go to hell. “And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (v.46).
Jesus says that what we do or not do to the least of his least brothers, we do or not do to him (v.40,45). Thus it is about loving him or rejecting him. It is about caring for the needs of the poor or neglecting/ignoring the suffering of the poor, with whom Jesus directly identifies.
There is another opinion however about who these sufferers are. They could be Christian missionaries who suffer due to their preaching of the gospel. In their mission work, there are those who go hungry and thirsty, who visit new territories, who fall sick, and who are even imprisoned. The judgment for “all the nations” (v.32a) is how they treated those who proclaimed Christ to the ends of the earth. These missionaries bring the message of Jesus to the world. Rejecting them is rejecting Jesus.
We who are evangelizers and missionaries are indeed fortunate and privileged to be among those who are the least brothers of Jesus, whom Jesus identifies with. Let us intensify our work, and pray for those we are evangelizing, since their acceptance or rejection of the gospel will determine their eternal fate.
And we thank God for LCSC and for NONe. With either interpretation of this gospel passage, we are covered!
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