Knox, August 27, 2017
Our good news this morning comes to us from the final chapter of Matthew’s gospel with Jesus’ final public teaching. Here, Jesus offers his farewell instructions to those gathered together one last time with him before he faces his death on the cross.
Imagine yourself listening in somewhere along the edges of the gathered crowd as Jesus instructs his listeners about the need to be prepared for all eventualities.
At the same time as being on the lookout for his return, he tells them this:
Be about the business of sharing God’s gifts with the last and the least and make sure you are compassionately bold in the doing!
A reading from the gospel according to Matthew, chapter 25 verses 31-46.
“When you helped the least of these, you helped me.”
“ ‘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 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 to one of the least of these who are members of my family, then 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 will also 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.”
Response: Listen to what the Spirit is saying to the church. Thanks be to God.