1st Monday of Lent: Roman calendar
Gospel text (Matthew 25,31-46): Jesus said to his disciples, «When the Son of Man comes in his glory with all his angels, He will sit on the throne of his Glory. All the nations will be brought before him, and as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, so will He do with them, placing the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. The King will say to those on his right: ‘Come, blessed of my Father! Take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. For I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me into your house. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came to see me’. Then the good people will ask him: ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and give you food; thirsty and give you drink, or a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to see you?’. The King will answer, ‘Truly, I say to you: whenever you did this to these little ones who are my brothers and sisters, you did it to me’.
'Then he will say to those on his left: ‘Go, cursed people, out of my sight into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry and you did not give me anything to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink; I was a stranger and you did not welcome me into your house; I was naked and you did not clothe me; I was sick and in prison and you did not visit me’. They, too, will ask: ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, thirsty, naked or a stranger, sick or in prison, and did not help you?’. The King will answer them: ‘Truly, I say to you: whatever you did not do for one of these little ones, you did not do for me’. And these will go into eternal punishment, but the just to eternal life'.
Comment: Fr. Joaquim Monros i Guitart (Tarragona, Spain)
"Whatever you did not do for one of these little ones, you did not do for me".
Today we are reminded of the Final Judgment, "when the Son of Man comes in his glory with all his angels" (Mt 25:31), by letting us mull over the essentials of our faith; feeding the hungry, giving the thirsty to drink, clothing the naked, visiting the sick... these are works of love for those Christians who, upon doing them, can see the very same Christ therein reflected.
Saint John of the Cross says: «At dusk your love will be tested. Do learn to love God as He wants to be loved and forsake your own condition». For, not making something you ought to do, in the service of the other sons of God, our own brothers, means to deprive Christ of these details of due love: sins of omission.
The II Vatican Council, in the Gaudium et spes, when explaining the demands of Christian charity, which confer a meaning to the so called social assistance, says: «In our time, it becomes especially pressing our duty to come as close as possible to any man in need and to serve him with affection, whether the elder forsaken by all, or the baby, born out of an illegitimate union, who is exposed to pay for a sin he has not committed, or the starving, who appeals to our conscience by bringing to our memory the words of our Lord: ‘Truly, I say to you: whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me’ (Mt 25:40)».
Let us remember Christ lives within the Christians... and He tells us: «I am with you always, even unto the end of the world» (Mt 28:20).
The IV Lateran Council defines the Final Judgement as a truth of faith: «Jesus Christ will finally come at the end of the world, to judge the living and the dead, and to give each one according to their works, whether rejected or chosen (...) to receive after their works, good or bad: these will go into eternal punishment, but the just to Christ's eternal glory».
Let us beg the Virgin Mary for her help in our acts of service to her Son in our brothers.