The Very Essence of the Christian Life

Image result for free photo of Matthew 25:31-46

Daily Reflection – 3/2/2020

Sacred Scripture

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 these 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.”( Matthew 25:31-46)

Reflection

This passage from Matthew is one that never fails to make my spirit and my soul soar. 

Jesus Christ spells out the very meaning of life itself. In the end on our day before Him, all that will matter is what we have done for Christ and our neighbor. God will judge us not only for the wrong we have done but also for what we have failed to do.  

The kingdom of heaven shows up where we least expect it. The presence of Jesus is hidden in the sick, the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, and the imprisoned. They are not only the “brothers” of Jesus; Jesus identifies himself with them.

Does that surprise you? After all, isn’t Jesus Christ the true King of Hearts? Its in the human heart that Jesus Christ finds His throne of victory. That’s where Jesus Christ is enthroned in His ultimate glory, when Jesus Christ has a place in your heart, and in my heart. That’s the kingdom of God. That’s His kingdom! And His throne in our heart is a throne of love and charity. Not of precious gems and gold, but of love and charity.

That message of love and charity must propel each of us to a life of Christian mission. Its not about how well we pray, nor is it about how many prayers we say or how pious we appear. There is no genuine holiness without a radical orientation toward the spiritual and material good of others. In a word: there is no holiness without mission. 

To be with Him throughout eternity, each of us must match the interior with the exterior. And that’s because the kingdom of Jesus Christ and the royalty of Jesus Christ is all about the human heart, and how to bring up the very best in the human person on a daily basis, the very best that God has already given to us, and how to extend that into the world just as He did when he was in our world.

Let’s not forget still another powerful message of this Gospel. An invitation to constant focus upon the dignity and value of the person must be the central message we take from this passage. 

Reflect, today, upon the dignity of each and every person.  Try to call to mind anyone you may fail to look at with perfect respect.  Who is it you look down upon and roll your eyes at?  Who is it you judge or disdain?  It is within this person, more than any other, that Jesus waits for you.  He waits to meet you and to have you love Him in the weak and the sinner.  Reflect upon their dignity.  Identify the person who fits this description the most in your life and commit yourself to love and serve them.  For in them you will love and serve our Lord. 

Your life, my life, all of our lives should center on this universal truth. Each person deserves dignity. Separate yourself, before He does, from those that do not believe this or act on this. Evaluate those in our earthly world by this compassionate and overwhelming teaching. Every life deserves dignity because every life comes from Him. Reflect upon their dignity.  Identify the person who fits this description the most in your life and commit yourself to love and serve them.  For in them you will love and serve our Lord.

When you and I place in our hearts the virtues of love and charity and patience and mercy and forgiveness, we build the thrones in our hearts with Jesus Christ our King who can stay and be seated and can continue his work in this world: the work of mercy and charity and love through us. And when that happens His royal glory is evident. It is manifest to the world.

 Prayer of The Day

“Dear Lord, I believe that You are present, in hidden form, in the weakest of the weak, the poorest of the poor and in the sinner in our midst.  Help me to diligently seek You out in each and every person I encounter, especially those in most need.  As I find You, may I love You and serve You with my whole heart.  Jesus, I trust in You.”

Daily Note

Christ teaches us repeatedly in the Gospels by word and example that the secret to happiness in this life and the life to come is self-giving, self-forgetful love, serving the spiritual and material needs of our brothers and sisters, through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ. Only self-giving – the mark of authentic love – counteracts the epidemic of self-centeredness, self-indulgence, and self-sufficiency that has scourged the human family ever since the fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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