November 23, 2014

The Gospel Today

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Matthew 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 the 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. Ramon Jamora, Jr.):

          Today’s Gospel is inviting us to be persons for others – to be charitable. Jesus is telling us that this is a way for us to inherit the kingdom which has been prepared for us from the foundation of the world.

          When I was with the youth ministry, we often times have gatherings and prayer meetings. Of course, there were snacks and drinks that were served. If there were sufficient food left, we took it to the streets and distributed it to those who were sleeping and spending their nights on the sidewalks. Not only did we give our left overs but also have initiated a feeding activity. There were also times that the youth members went to the children in the health center for cancer patients. A short program was given, food was distributed, goodies were given as gifts, and being there just to be with the kids was the most valuable act that the youth did. They listened to the stories of the survivors. They heard of the pain and suffering of those who were still undergoing chemotherapy. They gave the patients the strength and courage to face their illness.

          Another charitable work was the building of houses for the relocation of the informal settlers. We volunteered to build a duplex type house. The house was to cater two families. On the first day of construction, there were more than twenty of us. We started the construction from ground works to piling of hollowed blocks for the walls. Since most of the youth members were too young and have not experienced laboring in construction, it was only a few of us, a bit old, who helped in manually mixing the cement. After a few months of construction the houses were ready for occupancy and they were turned over to the beneficiaries.

          It’s very consoling if doing one charitable act would be enough to inherit the kingdom. I am sure that all of us, in our own little way, have given food to the beggars on the street, have donated clothes to people of typhoon affected areas, have donated money to charity etc… Perhaps, others may even have given millions. But I believe it is not the case with Jesus.

          In the Gospel Jesus specified six types of individuals: the hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, ill, and imprisoned. I believe Jesus’ purpose of enumerating these individuals is for us to do charity for the rest of our life. No matter what we do, these people will always be present. I feel that Jesus is calling us to charity. If we want to become heirs of His kingdom, we are invited to do good works for as long as we live.

          Have you given today?

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