Here is last Sunday's sermon. The gospel reading was Matthew 25:31-46.
Matthew 25:31-46Jesus said, "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."
The Face of God.
Jesus tells us that when the son of man sits on his throne of glory, all nations will gather and their people will be separated as is done between sheep and goats. Those who are worthy will inherit the kingdom.
So how do we inherit this kingdom. It sounds like a really good deal to me.
Here is where we meet Matthew's big five.
I was hungry and you gave me food
I was thirsty and you gave me drink.
I was a stranger and you welcomed me.
I was naked and you gave me clothing.
I was sick or in prison and you visited me.
This is what we are called to do. When we look out at that vast expanse of humanity we are told to see the face of God in all of our brothers and sisters. Jesus sends us a very clear message in Matthew 25:31-46. We are to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked and minister those who are sick or in prison.
Jesus could not have made it clearer. I do not believe Jesus wants us to do these things because it is our ticket to a heavenly kingdom. He wants us to do these things because those hungry, thirsty, naked,friendless,sick and imprisoned are our brothers and sisters and they are all part of God's creation.
They are us....and we are them. We love our Creator and we love God's creation.
How do we do that? There is an old saying. Think globally act locally. It means look at the big picture of what is happening in our world but do what you can on a local level. We work at food banks. We visit the hospitals. We welcome people to our homes. At the same time when we cannot be there when disasters strike around the world we gather our resources and send them to those who can.
I feel to some extent that I am preaching to the choir because I know that this big five of Matthew's gospel is something that each of you is mindful of. We must remember to never stop reaching out.
I am a very fortunate guy. I have been given the opportunity to work as a counselor at the food bank. I hear the stories and my heart goes out to those I meet. They are the image of God. Their lives are not as filled with the “things” that so many of us have. Many of the people I meet come in car pools because there is only one working automobile among them.
Most of the people I meet at the food bank are not in despair. To some extent they have a greater awareness of what is important in life. They have family and friends and that is what they cherish. I have learned much from them. They have taught me that often times less is more.
Have a Blessed Advent,