In the first reading today from Leviticus 19, the Lord tells Moses to tell the people how to conduct themselves. Though not the Ten Commandments, this reading sounds similar. It ends with the great commandment, the one that Jesus spoke of when asked which is the greatest of the commandments…”You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Our Gospel reading is from Matthew 25.
Here Jesus tells of the king separating the sheep from the goats. Who will be the ones who inherit the kingdom? They are the ones who look after “these least brothers of mine.”For I was hungry and you gave me food, thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.” And the goats? They are the ones who did none of these things. “And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Both groups are astonished when the king tells them what he does. “Lord, when did we see you…?” Why would they be so astonished? Because rarely, if ever, do you see a king hungry or thirsty or naked or in prison or whatever. So many people today are so obsessed with celebrity. With their eyes firmy fixed on the rich and famous, they fail to even SEE “these least ones.” Those in need become invisible because they are “not worthy” of accolades. They don’t win awards or show up on the talk shows. If “these least ones” are invisible, what shall become of the ones to whom they have become invisible? I think we can figure that one out for ourselves.
Father, we’re so sorry for those times when “these least ones” become invisible to us. Help us to keep our eyes on those who need us the most, and give us the grace to help them. Amen.