Saturday, 22 November 2014

And yet

GospelMatthew 25:31-46 

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.
  ‘Then the King will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.” Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?” And the King will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”
  ‘Next he will say to those on his left hand, “Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you never gave me food; I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink; I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me.” Then it will be their turn to ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or naked, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?” Then he will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.”
  ‘And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life.’

And so, giving me no quarter, on the feast of Christ the King Matthew continues his fearful warnings. The final warning that must mean that the majority of us, and certainly me, are heading towards the eternal nowhere - as Private Fraser used to say in Dad's Army - 'we're doooooomed'.

And we must be, mustn't we? There is not even a penny balance given in this judgement - 'whenever' you do this or that. The virtuous life if one we all hope for and it can't be achieved simply by choosing which side of the fence we consider ourselves to be on. In the Beatitudes, Jesus blessed those who found themselves on the margins. This scripture asks us to stand in solidarity and compassion with those people.  In our prayers, we ask for the grace'ful life where we can act as God wishes - trying to do 'this' and trying to avoid to do  'that' but I definitely with Paul on this one  - I still do and don't do - every day I am both a sheep and goat - every day.

Today I wonder why this is the reading for Christ the King - this judgmental God who finds it easy to separate the wheat from the chaff.  I believe that we are a people intended to love God and each other. We are a people led to offer God's gift of love to others, no matter what.  but where is the 'Love' here?

And then I remember that this is the last Sunday before Advent; before John comes to tell us that there is a new way; before the old laws are set aside. Because, whatever Matthew says, our King does not judge us solely on the Book of the Law.

Everytime I go to Mass I say it - I admit I have sinned; it was my fault; I am not worthy

and yet...

I believe that my King does not sit on a throne of Judgement but on a throne of Mercy

I humbly admit that I sinned through my fault, through my own most grievious fault

I have faith that my King stands not before me but beside me

I accept that I will never get myself into Heaven - never

and so, it is for you, Lord of Mercy...

Only say the Word and I will be healed.



Diane Baugh said...

I loved this dear Gelli Ma. I agree that we can NEVER, earn our way to heaven. Our righteousness is in and through the shed blood of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps that is why we grieve our sinfulness, our wrong choices,, because He paid the ultimate price to ransom us from the consequences of our sinfulness. Thank you for this beautiful reminder to thank Jesus once again for His ultimate Gift of salvation. Love to you, dear sister.

Gelli Ma said...

Thank you for your comment and soon the blessings of Advent. blessings to you.

Lynda said...

So absolutely consoling. I am speaking to the RCIA this evening on this Gospel and I will bring this consolation to them - we are saved by grace. Blessings and prayers.