6 March 2017
The Lord spoke to Moses. He said: ‘Speak to the whole community of the sons of Israel and say to them:
‘“Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy.
‘“You must not steal nor deal deceitfully or fraudulently with your neighbour. You must not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God. I am the Lord. You must not exploit or rob your neighbour. You must not keep back the labourer’s wage until next morning. You must not curse the dumb, nor put an obstacle in the blind man’s way, but you must fear your God. I am the Lord.
‘“You must not be guilty of unjust verdicts. You must neither be partial to the little man nor overawed by the great; you must pass judgement on your neighbour according to justice. You must not slander your own people, and you must not jeopardise your neighbour’s life. I am the Lord. You must not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. You must openly tell him, your neighbour, of his offence; this way you will not take a sin upon yourself. You must not exact vengeance, nor must you bear a grudge against the children of your people. You must love your neighbour as yourself. I am the Lord.”’
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘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. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.
‘Then the King will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.” Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?” And the King will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”
‘Next he will say to those on his left hand, “Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you never gave me food; I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink; I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me.” Then it will be their turn to ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or naked, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?” Then he will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.”
‘And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life.’
In so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.
I once overheard a question being asked on the bus, “What do you see in him? There is nothing in him which is worth knowing and befriending.” We live in a world where people judge and assess us on the basis of our material outcomes and status. Indeed, it does appear that all these external appearances are the ones which people assess and judge us on; which is why we decide to do things to improve this part of our life. The readings of today remind us that we should not do so but instead focus on the human person for who he is – a fellow child of God.
The first reading of today is all about instructions on how to ensure that our neighbour is given a just response to a world where might is right. Indeed it may appear that there are many laws being enacted to make it cumbersome for us to live our lives, but I believe that the basis of the commandments can be summarised in the last verse where God calls us to love our neighbour. This commandment is easy to hear but it is difficult to live out. Indeed, I believe that if we all bothered to abide by this for half of the time when we meet others, the world will indeed become a better place.
Jesus asks that we bear the joy of knowing the Gospel to all around us. We need to realise that Christianity is a practical religion which demands that our Faith be put into action towards our neighbours. Our lives are meant to be a witness to the people around us. A witness can stand up to the scrutiny of others because he is very clear of the Truth in His heart. We need to communicate to God daily in prayer and to discover what it means to remain faithful to him. This may entail the stripping away of all things that shackle us from enjoying true freedom to live as a child worthy of Christ. It may be painful but I believe that it will be a worthwhile process which will see us grow deeper in Christ.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray that you allow us to be open to your promptings and put our Faith in action.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who are Spiritual Directors.