Fr. Mike’s Daily Homily for Monday of the 1st Week of Lent
Theme: The last judgement
By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches
Homily for Monday March 7 2022
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.”
The Gospel today is the parable on the Last Judgment. Jesus uses the image of the sheep and the goats. The sheep are the faithful ones who are judged to be worthy of eternal life and happiness in God’s heavenly kingdom. The goats are those who are condemned to the everlasting fires of hell.
The criteria that God uses in judgment is rather interesting if not surprising. Nothing is said about the Ten Commandments. It is not mentioned that those condemned to hell disobeyed God’s commands. It did not also say that the good ones were faithful in fulfilling their religious obligations, or were prayerful and active in church.
Instead the basis of God’s judgment is one’s obedience to the commandment of love, especially love towards one’s neighbor, being the concrete expression of love of God. St. John of the Cross rightly concludes: “At the end of our life, we shall all be judged by charity.”
In short, all our devotional practices and spiritual exercises have no value in the eyes of God if we do not follow the Lord’s mandate: “A new commandment I give unto you: love one another as I have loved you.”
And who is our neighbor? In the parable, Jesus uses the term “least brothers of mine.” And these are the people who are in need: those who are hungry and thirsty, those who do not have enough clothing, the sick and those in prison. This has been illustrated in the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
The wicked were condemned to eternal punishment, not because they did something bad to these people in need, but because they did not do anything to help them. We may recall another parable of Jesus about the Rich Man and Lazarus. It is the sin of omission that condemned the Rich Man to hell.
We are not expected to do anything extraordinary or to give anything big. A simple food and drink will do; a short visit to the sick and those in prison is enough. St. Gregory Nazianzen said, “Give something, however small, to the one in need. For it is not small to one who has nothing. Neither is it small to God, if we have given what we could.” Denying them of the little help they need can have serious consequences. St. Vincent de Paul said, “Who will excuse us before God for the loss of such a great number of people, who could be saved by the slight assistance we could give them?”
And most importantly, Jesus identifies Himself with “these least ones”: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” In effect, taking care of anyone in need is taking care of Jesus. And to neglect and ignore them is to neglect and ignore Jesus. This, then, is the main issue on which the final judgment will be based.
By all means, let us faithfully obey the commandments of God. By all means, let us always pray, attend Mass regularly and fulfill all our religious obligations. But we must always understand that we do all these in order to strengthen us in our loving service for others, especially those in need. Otherwise, these are worthless in the eyes of God.
It is said that St. Vincent de Paul –the Apostle of Charity – was criticized by his confreres for leaving the chapel during community prayers to attend to a beggar at the door. To this, the saint replied: “I am leaving God to attend to God.”
In closing, let us reflect on the words of St. Augustine: “God has no need of your money, but the poor have. You give it to the poor, and God receives it.”
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches