Thursday, January 21, 2016

Things to Do or a Way of Life?

I don’t know about others; I can only speak for myself: Matthew 25:34-40 never even close to being one of the passages of Scripture that I liked. It would cause guilt to rush upon me. Do I have to do all of these? Is doing one okay? How many times do I have to do them? Before going further, let’s read the passage.

“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’.”

I do not think the evangelist is trying to impress upon us that our Lord was implying a number to the times we are to do these things or if we only have to do one, two, or three of them. I believe what our Lord is telling us is how to pattern our lives, how to live our lives. What am I referring to?

Let me begin with this: When I was coming into the Catholic Church, I had a very difficult time with our Blessed Mother. One of the things that helped me when I read a book where the author asked, “Should we love those that Jesus love?” Of course. “Does Jesus love His mother?” Of course. Utilizing the same theory, let’s ask the same question: Should we love those that God love? Yes. Who does He love? Everyone. Are we born of God in Baptism? Does Jesus, the Son of God abide in us and we in Him? If so, divine life is in us; therefore, who should we love? Everyone. One may ask, “Well, what about wicked people?” Let me ask in return, “If a person was a thief, an adulterer, and a murderer, would you consider that person wicked?” Now, consider King David. He stole another man’s wife, committed adultery, and murdered her husband. Did God love him? Yes.

God does not separate Himself from mankind; humans separate themselves from God. It is God’s desire that no person should perish. Through the Sacraments, God puts His divine life in us; hence, we love whomsoever He loves. Just as God put Adam into a deep sleep (death) and from his side brought forth his wife, God also brought forth from His Son’s divine side (Jesus is a Divine being) His Bride. Because Jesus is holy, His Bride is holy; and She loves whomsoever her Husband loves. Jesus tells us that a husband and wife becomes one flesh. He was really speaking of Himself and His Bride, the Church.

The passage in Matthew 25 is about a way of life, caring for all those that we meet. It also entails supporting our parish in order that this microcosm of the whole Catholic Church may do likewise. Through supporting our parish, we are loving our neighbor also.
--Tommy Turner