11 March 2019. Monday of the First Week of Lent
Reflection (Sem. Eldrick S. Pena)
I used to teach in a higher educational institution prior to my entrance to the seminary. As a teacher, I would grade / evaluate my students based on how they fared academically in my class. And when the time of giving of the grades comes, some students would be excited about their grades, others anxious depending on how well they performed in class. They say the experience is just like Judgment day!
Today’s Gospel reminds us of our accountability as Christians for our brothers and sisters especially those who are in need. We will be judged. We could have an image of Jesus as firm and exacting judge, but the thing is – should we really be surprised or be shocked as regards our destiny on that day, when we finally appear before Christ for judgment?
May be no. Going back to my experience as a teacher, I would always remind my students that the teacher’s task is just to record their performances in class. It is not the teacher who fails or gives them high grades but themselves. The same is true when we come before Jesus for judgment. It should not be a moment of surprise for us because we are the ones who will judge our selves, not Jesus. He will just be there to make us see for ourselves how we have fared in the many “examinations” of life. He is a compassionate and loving God.
The challenge then is for us to always live our days as if they were our last. This we can do by opening ourselves to the grace of God to work in our lives. By doing such, we can be more loving, compassionate, forgiving and caring of our brothers and sisters just as Jesus did.
The Gospel Today
Mt. 25: 31-46
Jesus said to his disciples:
“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.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
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.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left,
‘Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life.”