Read Matthew 25: 31-46
In the ancient Christian hymn the Te Deum Laudamus we read:
“You, Christ, are the King of glory,
the eternal Son of the Father…
You are seated at God’s right hand in glory: we believe that you will come to be our judge.”
The judgement to be carried out by Christ the King is described in the parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25: 31-46). The process of judgement is here portrayed as being as simple as a shepherd separating sheep from goats. And the parable goes on with equal simplicity to state that judgement is determined by giving help to people we meet every day: the sick, the lonely, the hungry etc.
But you might well ask, “How do you apply such a simple message to our complex and sophisticated community?” Life was much simpler in Jesus’ time. The hungry were clearly visible in any Palestinian street. Today the hungry are on the other side of the world. The stranger was easily spotted in the village communities where Jesus ministered. Today the stranger goes unnoticed because there are so many of them in our bustling towns and cities.
We may think that the parable of judgement is just too simplistic to be put into practice in our complex world. And we may worry how we will be judged as a result. But perhaps a good guide to how we will be judged is the way we react to the interruptions caused by the needs of others. We may be deeply involved in a very important matter and someone wants to speak to us about a personal problem. We may be busy clearing the decks to make time for a much-needed break when another urgent request falls on the desk. At times like these the voice calling for our help may be the voice of Christ. And if we ignore it we deny the faith we profess.
The voice of Christ coming to us through the needs of other people may be inconvenient. Yet, only if we are ready to respond to such needs will the message of hope given in Christ fill our hearts and our lives. It will also give us the confidence of knowing that we are working in harmony with our Creator to whom we must give account.