love god and man

The readings in today’s Liturgy are very gut-wrenching and really give us a wake-up call for Lent and the rest of our lives. Leviticus in the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:1-2,11-18) and the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 25:31-46) really spell out for us God’s intentions and expectations for us. They are stated in a matter of fact manner. Their intention is not to scare us, but to simply inform us of what God wishes from each of us. Do yourself an eternal favor and read each of these, today. ((Click on underlined Bible reference above, and you will be taken to passage.))

The laws of the Old Testament, though mentioned throughout the Bible, are specifically contained in the Book of Levi (Leviticus). This particular passage depicts the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses. “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them: Be ye holy, because I, the Lord your God, am holy.” In the following passages verses (11 through 18) it then goes on, in a very clear manner, explaining why each must be done according to God’s Will. The passage then ends with the statement, “…but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” In these 8 statements, eleven through eighteen, we see the words “I AM THE LORD” four times. God is telling us loud and clear, the reason that we must adhere to these Commandments is because He is the Lord of all.

Matthew precedes today’s Gospel, with two other parables. The first parable speaks of the 5 wise and 5 foolish virgins. Five were prepared and had oil for their lamps, and five were not prepared. Prepared for what? They were not prepared for the coming of the bridegroom. The custom was that virgins would greet the bride, with lamps lit, as she was accompanied to the house by the bridegroom. The second parable that precedes today’s Gospel, is the one in which the master of the house gave talents to his servants. To those servants that utilized these talents and doubled them they were rewarded. To the servant that buried his talent and did not let it grow, he was punished.

And so, we come to today’s Gospel, describing the end of the world, judgment day. The Son of Man sets the sheep on his right and the goats on the left. To those on his right, He tells them that He was hungry and they gave him food; He was naked and they clothed him; He was thirsty and they gave him drink; He was sick or in prison and they came and visited him. “When…when did we do this”, they ask. And His response: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” Like the virgins their lamps were prepared, they had “oil” for their lamps. Like the servants they utilized their talents and grew in the love of God and neighbor.

Next, he turns to the goats on His left. He tells them that they didn’t give him food; they didn’t clothe him; they didn’t give him to drink; they didn’t visit him. “We didn’t see you. When did we not do this for you?” His reply, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.” And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

What these powerful readings are telling us is that WE are all brothers and sisters. Our concern, our love, our protection of others is how we treat our God. His words: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” Our Lent, no…our LIVES, must be one of loving concern for our fellow man. We cannot continue to look upon people as bothersome, ignorant, unfaithful, or degraded. The moment we measure people against ourselves, our way of living, our standards, at that moment we set ourselves up as a judge. ((Judge not and ye shall not be judged.)) Look at the people you meet today who, just like yourself, have problems which they desperately want to be rid of. Jesus isn’t telling us to cure the sick, to free the imprisoned. He is simply saying visit Him in the sick, and the imprisoned. Give to people what you can of YOURSELF. See them as your brothers and sisters who also hurt, as you do, and who suffer and feel the pain, as you do. They are no different from you. And you are no different from them. We, ALL, have our share of problems. When we see ourselves, as the only ones with problems, we shut out of our lives the suffering Christ, who so deeply wants to be with us. Love your neighbor, and you will Love Jesus. We cannot cut out the middleman.

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) To All Mankind
2) Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
3) About Us
4) Are You Loved? Do You Love?
5) Our Wake Up Call