OUR WAY TO HEAVEN AND THE POOR

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

OUR THEME FOR 2015

(Part 8)

OUR WAY TO HEAVEN AND THE POOR

November 2, 2014

Today’s gospel:  Matthew 25:31-46

As saints, martyrs and warriors, we want to make it to heaven (see yesterday’s From the SG article). But there is one important aspect of our life on earth that will be a determining factor whether we actually make it to heaven or not. It is what we do for the poor.

At the end of time, Jesus will gather all the nations, which “will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” (v.32). The sheep on his right will be allowed to enter heaven (v.34). But what will be the criterion? “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.” (v.35-36).

Such is the amazing reality of work with the poor. Jesus identifies with the poor. Jesus is one with and in solidarity with the poor. “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (v.40). We have no problem loving and serving Jesus, but many disdain and marginalize the poor. Jesus then tells us that it is not what we do for him, but what we do for his beloved poor, that will determine our eternal fate.

Thus the goats on his left will be accursed and thrown into eternal fire (v.41). Why? For the very same reason. They did not minister to the poor (v.42-43). Thus they did not minister to Jesus (v.45).

The choice is ours. Will we be among the goats or the sheep? Will we be rejected by Jesus or embraced by him? Will we go to hell or to heaven? There will only be two groups, one or the other. “And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (v.46).

*     *     *