The Gospel Today
Monday of the First Week of Lent
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.”
Reflection (Sem. Primitivo Eublera, Jr.):
The Gospel for today reminds us of the two-fold character and task of the Christian life. His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle in his address during the recent breakfast meeting in an ecumenical and inter-religious gathering in Manila for the World Interfaith Week of which I had the grace to be present, pointed on the “coupling” of which he referred to as the love of God and the love of neighbor. He said in his reflections that all the religions in the world, whether Christians or non-Christians always have this commonality. And the summary of all the laws, from which these beliefs are anchored and even referring to the laws of states, is LOVE. The victory of Love should be the basis. He further emphasized that being of Judaeo-Christian tradition where our Catholic faith originated, Jesus expands this “love of neighbor” to those of one’s “enemies”.
Today’s Gospel seems to scare us for it has an eschatological undertone. Eschatology refers to end times. The judge in the Gospel would separate the goats from the sheep like what the shepherd would do. Those who are bad are like the goats who would suffer the eternal fire of hell and those who are good are like the sheep who would enjoy everlasting life in heaven.
However, going back to what the good cardinal was saying earlier. It is indeed LOVE that conquers all. For the one who loves, everything is possible. Even the great saints like St. John of the Cross said that in the twilight of our lives, when we die, we are not judged accordingly on our sins but on how much we LOVE. The coupling is very important. To love God is to love our neighbor, even our own enemies.
Let us ask always turn to the Blessed Mother, the Model of Fairest Love, for in Her LOVE of God, our Lord Jesus Christ was born for us, LOVE Himself. Amen!