Spiritual readings for Sunday 26th November
20 November 2017 CGI news
Week of 20th November (reference: readings for Sunday 26th November)
Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe - Reading: 1Cor 15, 20-26.28; Mt 25, 31-46
“Come, blessed of my Father! Inherit the Kingdom that my Father has prepared for you since the creation of the world.”
The Gospel of this week is perhaps the most Vincentian text of the Bible. It is true that both the Gospel and St. Paul's letter to the Corinthians, refer to the Parousia (manifestation of the end of time) and, therefore, to the virtue of hope. However, the way in which the King judges his subjects is as if he were saying: "whoever is Vincentian, can sit at my right hand".
I do not understand why there are people who, even after reading this parable still believe that our works do not contribute to the salvation at the end of times. In the same parable, Jesus sums up the virtues of faith, hope and charity. Through faith, we believe that when we care for one "of these little ones of the father" we are caring for Christ himself. Through hope, we believe that also when we care for one of the small, we are conquering a very special place next to God (we will be the sheep). Finally, charity or love is the principle of everything: no Vincentian gives food or drink, or welcomes a foreigner or visits any prisoner, if it is not out of love.
Two interesting aspects in this Gospel have much to do with the Vincentian charisma. First, Jesus specifies very well with whom we should practice charity. It is not to anyone, but to the "smallest of my brothers". They are those who cannot repay us, since they are so small. They are not the powerful! If we do good to the powerful, they can reward us with material goods or with power or glory here on Earth. There is no merit in this! They are not those we already love! If we do good only to those who love us, what is the merit of our action? We like to do good to those who love us and we already receive a reward in doing so. Jesus asks us to do that with his small ones, which we do not know and which He puts them on our road: it is not a choice, but a mission.
Thus, in the same way that God provides for us, without wanting anything in return, even without our asking for it, because He knows our needs, we must also serve those that He puts on our road, and who cannot reward us.
Secondly, Jesus does not say that who does nothing will be at the left side of the Son of Man. He goes beyond: He specifies that those who do nothing will not have a place close to the heart of God. Therefore, if we do not care for the smallest that God puts on our road, we will be at the left, that is, we will go to eternal punishment, which is nothing more and nothing less than the distance or the absence of God.
How good it is to be a Vincentian and to leave our comfort zone to go towards the foreigner, the prisoner, the hungry, the thirsty, the smallest of the small! The reward for this love does not even depend on the hope of eternal salvation, because we feel the nearness of God already here on Earth, in our day to day, in the very act of love.