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Lenten Reflection: Day 6
Gospel, Matthew 25:31-46
God’s creation is unfathomable. Every iota of His incredible genius is a universe of mysteries. Among all that He created and saw them to be ‘very good’ (Genesis 1:31), He created the Angels, referred to as a massive army of heavenly creatures. In his “Epistle to the Corinthians” St. Clement of Rome writes, “Let us think of the whole hosts of angels, how they stand by and serve His (God’s) will, for scriptures say: “Ten thousand times ten thousand were doing service to Him, and they cried out: Holy, holy, holy, Lord Sabaoth; the whole creation is full of His glory.” This text about the host of angels could serve our purpose to certain measure, to illustrate the starting verse of today’s Gospel (Matthew 25:31): “When the Son of man comes in His glory, escorted by all the angels, then He will take His seat on His throne of glory”.
The Andreas Center (www.andreascenter.org) based in Massachusetts, USA, is a group of people exploring Christian thoughtfulness. This center was named in the honour of Andreas who was the Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia who wrote a Greek commentary on the Book of Revelation. Their work on the importance of sheep and goats in the ancient Jewish times, sheds good light to understand the work of Christ in separating the sheep (righteous) from the goat (unrighteous / sinners) during the events of His triumphant second coming. According to the Andreas Center, ‘the centre of gravity of the Hebrew religious calendar is the Annual Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16). The Priests at the Temple selected one of the goats by lot, from a pair, and with its blood atoned for the sins of the people. He sent the other goat away into the wilderness, symbolizing that the sins of the people we carried far from them. Goats are considered to be undisciplined and disorderly. This is why they are symbolic to the separation of the holy from the sinful, by Christ on The Judgement Day.
Another important learning from today’s Gospel is about the importance of the ‘corporal works of mercy’. Our Holy Mother Catholic Church teaches these to be: feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick, visiting the imprisoned and burying the dead (www.catholicculture.org). Christ categorically emphasizes on the importance of these virtuous deeds as acts of intense love and charity, expressed undoubtedly to His very person. Doing so to those who are considered least among the peoples, is as true as doing in it to Christ Himself. Blessed Mother Teresa always made the world know that she saw Jesus in the poor, the suffering and the outcast. This is why she served them selflessly and with an outpouring of ‘Christ like love’. Saint Francis of Assisi saw the attaining of heavenly treasure in serving the poorest among the poor. He made himself one among them, for he saw his Lord Jesus Christ in the person of the lowly and unwanted.
Therefore, my friends, may this lent be a time to patiently and faithfully strive to be among those who, The Lord Jesus would chose to include in His Father’s eternal kingdom. Let it be a time to consciously and joyfully sacrifice our desires and wants, in order to serve the needs of the poor, the neglected, the suffering and the marginalized. For in doing so we wait upon the needs of The Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Amen.