Let’s think today about two things.
The first is that we have an amazing opportunity to be Christ’s example in this world, to carry him through the dirt and the mire of humanity, and being him into people’s hearts. Is that not the most extraordinary gift? Yes, to be his ambassador. It is what we are all called to be, in our many and varied ways. It can be tricky. Sometimes we only want to assign love to those who we are close to, to those who love us. But Christ isn’t asking this of us. Well, yes he is, but he’s also asking us, challenging us, to love beyond our limits: to love the stranger and the beggar and the prisoner.
Many if not all of us have at some stage been the recipient of love. And this leads us onto the second point. We have another amazing gift, and that is to be the receptors of his love, not just the givers. When we are shown love, it is an opaque mirror of the love of God. It is us, receiving his love into our hearts. This too is a grace and a gift. Love finds a home in a fertile ground. Are we such fertile ground? Do we accept forgiveness from someone who hurts us? Do we let go and do Christ’s will? Or are we still led by our jealousy and hate?
This ambassadorship is a big deal. Christ makes it quite clear that we shall be judged by it, not by the tidiness of our houses, by the niceness of the community we build around us of people who are already our loved ones, but by how we love others in the manner that Jesus asks us. It is a tough job, a lifetime’s work. But we shall be judged by it. Where, then, shall we start? What shall be our first act, today, of giving love in the way that Jesus gave love? And how are we going to remind ourselves to keep loving beyond one daily good deed, beyond our own limits?
A reading from the Gospel according to Matthew (25:31-46)
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.” Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?” And the King will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”
Next he will say to those on his left hand, “Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For 1 was hungry and you never gave me food; 1 was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink; I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me.” Then it will be their turn to ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or naked, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?” Then he will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.” And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life.’
The Gospel of the Lord
Let’s think today about two things.