Notice During the Covid-19 Outbreak
In solidarity, we at the Interfaith Peace Project stand together in these times of heart break and upset. Some of you may have lost friends or family members. Some of you may have lost your job and your income; some may be working overtime to help with the crisis. Some of you may be home and alone and some may be trying to figure out a new way to live. Please let us know how we can help. If you would like a phone appointment with any of us, give us a call.You may call or email Tom at:
Tom Bonacci
[email protected]
925-787- 9279
November 22, 2020
© Seika
A Reflection from the Christian Traditions
Matthew 25:31-46
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
The gospel for the Last Sunday of the Liturgical Year (Matthew 25: 31-46) seems reasonably straightforward. The Parable uses the imagery of sheep and goats. In the fullness of time, the Lord will judge the assembled flocks according to their deeds. Good sheep, who do good, go to heaven while the goats, who did wrong, will go to the eternal fires. The moral of the story appears to be simple, clear, and obvious. A more attentive reading reveals something entirely different.

The Parable of the Sheep and Goats comes after several parables dealing with judgment, perception, and proper action. Disciples of Jesus are called upon to live a life of preparedness, willing to respond on a dime’s notice (Matthew 25: 1-13). The faithful disciple is a risk-taker willing to live on the edge of creativity with a heightened sense of responsibility (Matthew 25: 14-30). Finally, the Gospel for the Feast of Christ the King, which marks the end of the liturgical year, celebrates a disciple who is willing to lose everything for the sake of caring service.

Our Parable reflects the mission and work of Jesus. He spent his life in the service and care of the poor. He is risen in the afflicted of the World. We experience the risen presence of Jesus when we reach out to the poor, broken, hurting, and failed. At this point, the Parable reveals something surprising, if not shocking.

The faithful sheep, the blessed of God, did not know they were serving Jesus when caring for the poor and hurting. They did the humane thing. They were motivated by their hearts. They cared for the needy not because they thought they were serving Jesus. They did what compassion invites. They “unknowingly” cared for Jesus in their service to the afflicted.

The Parable points out rather dramatically that every day is judgment day. Not a day goes by when you and I do not make judgments about what matters most. In our time, we know dozens of people who are lonely, fearful, hurting, sick, and dying. How do we judge them? Are they worthy of our time, concern, love, or attention? Something as simple as a phone call can bless another person’s day.

Some have observed there is nothing overtly religious in the judgment list. Think again. What could be more religious than feeding the hungry, welcoming a stranger, or being concerned about another person? Not a day goes by when you and I don’t have an opportunity to serve someone with our care.

Blessings to you, Holy Community, for your care and love for those who have no care or love.