Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31
1 Thessalonians 5:1-6
This scripture passage is the only Judgment scene in the four gospels.
What is surprising is that the focus is not about Christ, Forgiveness, Justification, or sin. It is about the care of the needy.
Self-giving and service to the poor is the hermetical key to doing the will of God. The students of comparative religion assert that the great contribution of Jesus to religion is that He made service of one’s neighbor intimately connected to worship of God.
Matthew’s Judgment Scene is not off in the future. It is in the here and now life of the disciples of Jesus. It has been observed that the six categories articulated in this passage are identical to the Corporal Works of Mercy. So one can surmise from this if we want to know the best way to be a disciple of Jesus, it would be to practice the Corporate Works of Mercy: Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, cloth the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead.
Matthew’s Judgment Scene says that Christ is present in the world. Christ is present in all of humanity. Christ is most present in poor and destitute of the world. Christ not only singles out the poor and destitute as objects of special attention and solicitation, but He identifies with them. To serve one’s neighbor is to serve God.
God is less impressed by what we do for God, than what we do for each other. The vocation of the Church, its highest and essential call is to serve humanity in all its needs. This means the Church needs to combat Bigotry, Diseases, Injustices, Ignorance, Illiteracy, Racism, all that stifles life for the body or spirit.
Fr. Ken O’Malley, C.P., is the local superior at Holy Name Passionist Community in Houston, Texas.