“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.
Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that 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 something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’
Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me 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 nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’
Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
I celebrated my first Mass on this great feast of Christ the King. As an ordination gift, my brothers and sisters presented me with a commitment ring. Inscribed inside is the question asked twice in today’s Gospel: “Lord, when did we see you hungry?” It’s a daily reminder that Our King comes to us in the distressing disguise of the poor.
The irony of this question is that both the righteous and the lost ask it. Neither realize that the daily acts of kindness for the least of our brothers and sisters are the real test of whether our faith in Jesus is sincere or bogus.
We who call ourselves Christians have heard this parable for the last 2,000 years. We can’t claim ignorance. One day we will stand before the throne of grace, and we pray that we will not have left Our King hungry, thirsty, naked or alone.
Gracious Lord, I pray for the grace to hold You first above all else.
Free my mind to think of you before all else,
my heart to love you above all else,
my wallet to serve you above all else.
Open my eyes to see You in the hungry,
My ears to hear You in the cries of the thirsty,
My hands to serve You in the needy –
For whatever we do to the least of our brothers and sisters
We know now we do for You.
—Fr. J. Michael Sparough, SJ
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