...what I have failed to do.
That is all it takes to go to heaven, many believe.
In today’s Gospel (Matthew 25:31-46), we hear something very different, pronounced in terrifying words of judgment by Christ himself.
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.
Intellectual belief in Christ is not enough.
Obeying the Commandments is not enough.
Pious devotion is not enough.
As we begin this first full workweek of Lent, may we build on the devotional and penitential practices we may have already begun and look diligently for opportunities to serve Christ in the least of his brothers.
Let not our epitaph read: “What I have failed to.”
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, be merciful to me – a sinner.