Today’s Gospel reading delivers yet another hard truth about Jesus. Judgment is real. There are rewards and punishments. What we do in this life matters. How we treat people matters to God. The command to love God and love our neighbor is not just a nice idea. It is not something beyond us. When we want to know what we can do for the Lord, there are some very simple answers in this passage. God does not give us an impossible task list. He does not give us a bar we can never jump over. Sure, on our own accord, without trusting and following the Lord, we cannot. But with His help, we can move mountains. I submit that many times the mountain to be moved is our ego. We need to knock down the mountain of selfishness so that we can make our way toward others. God offers us help here. These passages are a form of that help. They should awaken us from spiritual slumber.
We sometimes question God’s purpose for our life. By this, we generally mean “What job does God want me to have?” Or “what person does He want me to marry?” Etc. Whatever job or vocation you may have, there are some constants. Some things are non-negotiable, and they apply to every believer. The Lord spells things out for us in bold letters. Things like repentance, prayer, worship, and, importantly, how we think about and act toward our fellow man. If you want to do something for the Lord, then look to the sick, the persecuted, the imprisoned, those who have nothing. I think there is always something we can do here; however small it might seem to us.
In our highly developed western world, it is easy to think that someone else is “taking care of it”. It is easy to think this is the job of government programs. Or we can get lulled into thinking only our weekly contribution to the offering plate is sufficient. I submit this is an easy way to pass the buck.
A big question we must answer to ourselves is whether we have a disposition of compassion, action, and grace toward others. It is not always an issue of money. It is not always an issue of time. Instead, I suggest starting at a more micro-level. For example, what habits do we have? If we develop habits of charity toward our fellow man, we will constantly be doing the will of God. We will adhere to the teaching of Jesus in the Gospel reading today. We are so motivated because it is right, just, and good. We desire the Lord’s favor. We know there are dire consequences for those who eschew the grace God has offered. This is manifest in their actions toward the least of these. Let us show the way of Christ. Allow Him to knock down our mountains of self. Then move with compassion toward our neighbor.
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