We will be judged by how we treat our neighbor
Today is the last Sunday in the Catholic calendar for the year is also the feast of Christ the King. The gospel reading for the Sunday was taken from Mathew 25:31-46, in which Jesus talks about the final judgment. He clearly described in no uncertain terms how we will be judged at the end of our lives – not by the great things we have achieved or the many rituals we have carried faithfully to worship God but by what we do to our neighbor.
He said that God will judge us by:
When he was hungry did we give him food?
When he was thirsty did we give him drink?
When he was a stranger did we made him welcome?
When he was naked did we clothe him?
When he was in prison did we go to see him?
When he sick did we visit him?
We would be wondering when was Jesus ever in any of the above situations that we neglected him. However his words were clear that we should see him in all those in such deplorable situations, “In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me."
What should these words of Jesus mean to us? To me it means that I should not go all over the world searching for him. He is with us in those in need in our midst. How can we serve him if we fail to recognize him in disguise in the poor, the hungry, the naked and the sick?
The person in recent times who identified Jesus in the poorest of the poor on the streets of Calcutta was Mother Teresa. She was convinced that Jesus lived in the poor and downtrodden and in serving them would be serving God. She was absolutely convinced that, “At the end of our lives we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made or how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was naked and you clothed me, I was homeless and you took me in’
It is time that we stop wasting our time, money and energy looking Jesus in the wrong places; in majestic buildings, elaborate man-made rituals and among the rich and powerful. Jesus had told us where to find Him and Mother Teresa found Him in her ‘poorest of the poor’ and she showed us the way to serve Jesus in them.
Have we found Jesus yet? If yes then let us serve in the way he wants as shown by Mother Teresa. If we haven’t then it is time we look around us for the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the sick and the naked and I am sure we too will find him there waiting for us to feed, clothe, visit and welcome him into our hearts.
Gospel, Mt 25:31-46
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,
lacking clothes and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me."
Then the upright 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, lacking clothes and clothe you?
When did we find you sick or in prison and go to see you?"
For I was hungry and you never gave me food, I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink,
I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, lacking clothes 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 lacking clothes, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?"
And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the upright to eternal life.'