31 "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left.34 Then the King will say to those at his right hand, `Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'
37 Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' 40 And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'
41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, `Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' 44 Then they also will answer, `Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?' 45 Then he will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.' 46 And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
Many of us are confused with different kinds of laws and regulations. We are very often concerned with what is right and correct and what I shouldn’t do or avoid to do. It is in this approach that the rich man refused to do good with his richness to the poor Lazar. It is this same approach which blocked the priest and the Parisian to help the poor Samaritan. Should we continue with this approach? What is then the best approach a Christian should inculcate?
First of all, we should learn to see in everyone the image of Christ and in everything a sign of God’s presence. Thus man learns automatically to see everything with the eyes of God, filled with compassion and love. It is in this love we identify the suffering and the pain of the other. Otherwise we will be tempted to say to ourselves that I did no harm, nothing wrong, so I am justified before God. It is in this approach man become arrogant and fail to see the presence of God.
The second approach is the resource and the reason of our act. We are not doing to receive something, rather we have already received from God and share what we have. Since our source of every action is the grace that we have received from God and since this resource is available for all those of good will, we can always count on Him. In truth, it’s God who is in action in every deed. Thus in our thinking, gesture, words and acts, it is God who is to be glorified and in Him, we too will be glorified by God. Thus each and every single or individual act is an action oriented directly towards God and towards divine will.
A Daily Quote from the early church fathers:
Gathering and Separating, by an anonymous early author from the Greek church
"And he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats." So then, people on earth are intermingled, and not only intermingled in that the righteous live side by side with the wicked, but they are also indistinguishable. Between the righteous and the wicked there is no apparent difference. Even as in wintertime you cannot tell the healthy trees apart from the withered trees but in beautiful springtime you can tell the difference, so too each person according to his faith and his works will be exposed. The wicked will not have any leaves or show any fruit, but the righteous will be clothed with the leaves of eternal life and adorned with the fruit of glory. In this way they will be separated by the heavenly shepherd and Lord. The earthly shepherd separates animals by their type of body, whereas Christ separates people by their type of soul. The sheep signify righteous people by reason of their gentleness, because they harm no one, and by reason of their patience, because when they are harmed by others, they bear it without resistance. He refers to sinners as goats, however, because these vices characterize goats - capriciousness toward other animals, pride and belligerence." (excerpt from INCOMPLETE WORK ON MATTHEW, HOMILY 54, the Greek fathers).