Separating the Sheep from the Goats

Matthew 25: 31-46
Wis 3:1-19 / Psa 23 /Rom 6:3-9

Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.
(Mt. 25:40)

In the end, how we treated others
Would determine our destiny:
Had we been Christ’s sister or brother,
Or acted like His enemy?

(Jesus said,) “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put 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; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46)

Reflection

In the Final Judgment we will all have to face God, and He will evaluate how well we have served others in this life, and as a Shepherd, He will separate the sheep from the goats. Those who, in their selfishness and greed, never shared their resources or lifted a finger to assist their neighbors in need will be condemned to eternal damnation. But those who treated others with love and compassion — as Jesus had commanded — will inherit eternal happiness in God’s kingdom.

God is love, and if we want to be with Him for all eternity, then we must profess and practice His commandment: You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18). There are only two kinds of people in this world: those who understand what real love means, and so give a part of their life to serve others, and those who do not know the meaning of the word because they only love themselves. All of us were born because of love – by God and by our parents’ love for each other; and so all of us are called to love, in the service of one another. One cannot call himself a Christian if he cannot serve his neighbor – by giving food to the hungry, clothes to the naked, hospitality to a visitor, a visit to a sick person or inmate, etc.

We are confident to be counted among the sheep, and not among the goats because at every opportunity, we look for ways that we can manifest God’s love. It may be as routine as giving biscuits to street urchins who ask to “watch your car”, or as complicated as looking for type AB blood for a patient in need. It may be in praying for a complete stranger a friend or brother requested for by text message, or in messages of God’s Word, inspiration, or consolation that we send or forward. Love can be practiced in many creative or ordinary ways, but it was never meant to be easy.

Lord, how perfect is your law of love, refreshing to my soul. My heart rejoices in the service of your love, more desirable than gold, sweeter than droppings from the honeycomb. (Psalm 19:8,9,11)

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