Sunday, November 23, 2014

. . . the superfluous wealth of rich countries should be placed at the service of poor nations.

Jesus taught his disciples to pray by asking the Heavenly Father not for "my" but for "our" daily bread. Thus, he desired every person to feel coresponsible for his brothers so that no one would want for what he needs in order to live. The earth's produce forms a gift which God has destined "for the entire human family”. — Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus, 12 November 2006

Gospel Text: (MT 25:31-46)
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 the 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."

Part of letting Jesus in to lead us to change is to take action. Jesus tells us what to do in our Gospel reading today. Jesus gives us an image of the final judgment when people are judged by how they act on their faith; how they treat "one of these least ones." Those in need or on the margins are not "least" in God's eyes. Jesus tells us that when we help them we are helping Him!

Are we willing to reach out to the "least?" Are we willing to listen and learn from them? Are we willing to consider "them" as part of "us?" We need to join the ranks of people doing just that.

This emphasis on caring for the poor is at the heart of Catholic social teaching. According to this body of doctrine, Jesus, our King, doesn’t want any of his people to be without food, clothing, and shelter. Those who have more should care for those who have less. They should lift up the lowly and help establish a world where justice and peace take priority over profit and gain.

Every human being is created by God and has been redeemed by Jesus. This means that every person has great dignity and should be treated as the treasure he or she is. Poverty, homelessness, abandonment—they all inflict deep wounds on a person’s soul.

Do we do everything we can personally to reverse these conditions?

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