“When your neighbor's life is at stake"
We can be very self-focused in our religious life: focusing only on our personal relationship with Christ.
We can also be very self-focused in times of trouble: worrying about what may happen to us.
Today’s readings remind us of our duty towards others.
In the first reading (Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18), duty toward others is made part of our relationship with the Lord:
...nor shall you stand by idly
when your neighbor's life is at stake.
I am the LORD.
And then, in the Gospel (Matthew 25:31-46), our Lord makes this relationship very explicit (with a very explicit warning as well):
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...
May we show mercy and care toward each other and may God have mercy on us all.