Fr. Roger J. Landry
St. Bernadette Parish, Fall River, MA
The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Year A
November 23, 2014
Ezek 34:11-12.15-17, Ps 23, 1 Cor 15:20-26.28, Mt 25:31-46
To listen to an audio recording of this homily, please click below:
The following text guided the homily:
The Jubilation that Marks this Solemnity
Today the Church celebrates with great joy the Solemnity of Christ the King. It is the last Sunday of the liturgical year and, in many ways, the culmination of everything we have marked up until now — the goal of Advent and Christmas, Lent and Easter, Pentecost and Corpus Christi and of all the Sundays and feasts throughout the year. They have all pointed toward this reality, that Christ is the King of the Universe, the Lord of all, the judge of the living and the dead. All of time, all of history, is heading toward this climax when Christ will be revealed to people of every race, nation and religion as the universal King of Kings.
I have a tradition each year on this Solemnity — as I think about Christ in his regal glory, and the joy of the angels and the saints who surround him — to listen to the beautiful finale of Handel’s famous “Hallelujah” because it expresses the overflowing joy that should swell up within each of us. This Hallelujah is the climax of his Messiah Oratorio and it specifically ponders the reality of what we celebrate today: “Hallelujah! (10x) … For the Lord omnipotent reigneth. … Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! (5x) … The kingdom of the Lord is begun, the kingdom of the Lord and of his Christ. … And he shall reign forever and ever! (4x) … King of Kings — forever and ever, Hallelujah! Hallelujah! — and Lord of Lords — forever and ever, Hallelujah! Hallelujah! (3x) … King of Kings and Lord of Lords… And he shall reign forever and ever! (2x) … King of Kings — forever and ever, Hallelujah! Hallelujah! — and Lord of Lords — forever and ever, “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! And He shall reign forever and ever! King of Kings and Lord of Lords! And he shall reign forever and ever. Forever and ever. Forever and ever. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”
Yes, the Lord is king and he shall reign forever and ever! The angels in heaven, as we see in the book of Revelation, now stand around his glorious throne and say, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen” (Rev 7:12). And today we join them in that hymn of jubilant praise.
Reigining by Serving
But the Lord wants something more from us today, or better said, he wants more than a type of praise that we give with words and melodies and musical instruments. For Christ the King, “to reign is to serve,” as the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council stressed in the decree Lumen Gentium, which was published 50 years ago on Friday (LG 36). Jesus left his heavenly majesty, and, as St. Paul tells us, “even though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave and being born in human likeness. He humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross” (Phil 2:6-8). Christ’s whole kingship is caught up in this service. As he himself said, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, to give his life as a ransom for the many” (Mt 20:28).
That’s why, on this great culminating solemnity of the liturgical year, the Church has us focus first on King’s service to us under another image and reality — that of our Shepherd. In the first reading, the Lord tells us through the prophet Ezekiel: “I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out… I will rescue them — and he means you and me! — from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. … I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak. I will feed them with justice.” In the responsorial psalm, we respond to this kindness of the Lord with some of the most famous words of all time: “The Lord — the Universal King — is my shepherd. There is nothing I shall want.” We express our confidence that with him, we lack for nothing, we have it all. He leads us by restful waters, refreshes our souls, anoints our head with oil, and fills our cup to the brim. Even though we walk in the scariest and darkest pits of life, we fear no evil, for he is with us, conforting us with his strong staff and rod. As long as we’re with him, only goodness and kindness will follow us in the long run all the days of our life; as long as we stay close to him, we shall dwell in the Lord’s house for millennia to come! In St. John’s Gospel, Jesus would take this reality of his shepherdly service to the extreme, when he said, ““I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (Jn 10:11). Jesus loved us so much that he came down from heaven to seek us out when we were lost, to take us back to his fold, and to die for us so that we might not die eternally, so that we might always remain with him in the verdant pastures of heaven. This is our king! As a modern composer wrote in a hymn, paraphrasing today’s Psalm, “The King of Love my Shepherd is!”
For Christ the King, to reign is to serve, to reign is to save, to reign is to shepherd, to strengthen, to sacrifice, to supply, to school, to support, to set free. Today, on this great feast, he turns to each of us and says, “Come, follow me!” The best way we can give him homage, the surest way we can enter into his kingdom, is to put into practice his example and reign with him by serving with him. He said this during the Last Supper, when he got down to wash all of the filth off of our feet and told us he was doing this as an example, so that we might do the same for others (cf. Jn 13:15). That’s why today’s Gospel makes so much sense. He tells us that when he comes as King to judge the living and the dead, we will be judged on the basis of our actions of loving service. For us to “inherit the kingdom prepared for [us] since the foundation of the world” — the Kingdom he has wanted to give us since before he created the heavens the earth! — we need to make the choice to spend our time here on earth reigning with him in loving, sacrificial service. God’s kingdom, as Pope Francis has been saying to us throughout his pontificate, is a kingdom in which we care for each other, in which we feel responsible for each other, in which we behave as Good Samaritans crossing the road for each other, inconveniencing ourselves for each other, and sacrificing ourselves for each other’s welfare. At our judgment the King will separate us into two groups, as a shepherd separates sheep from goats. This division will be as stark as the separation between light from darkness and truth from falsity. He will place his sheep, the saved, on his right and the goats, the accursed, the damned, on his left. Then he will say to those on his right, among whom, God-willing, we hope to be numbered: “For I was hungry, and you gave me food; thirsty and you gave me drink; naked and you clothed me; a stranger and you welcomed me; ill and you cared for me; in prison and you visited me.” Those on his right will respond, in effect, “Lord, when did we do any of this for you?” And the King will reply, “Whatever you did for the least of my brothers and sisters, you did for me!” Jesus did not mean to give us an exhaustive list of good deeds or even very hard things to accomplish, like giving away huge sums of money or extraordinary acts of heroic sacrifice that will earn us one day a Wikipedia page. He gave us six simple actions that any of us can do and have the opportunity to do almost every day as a sign of what he’s asking. And he told us that whatever we do out of love for another he takes personally. If we wish to serve and honor him, the means is by serving and honoring him in the disguise of the hungry, the thirsty, naked, poor, afflicted, imprisoned, persecuted, those in need in any way.
The Lord tells us, however, that it is also possible to fail the exam of life. There are some who will hear those horrible words that will doubtless break his shepherdly and sacred heart to enunciate, “Depart from me you accursed into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” These words are reserved for the ones who fail to serve Christ in others. These are not necessarily the people we would call evil. To some, they might even seem holy, those who would seem to do for the Lord. By their question to the King in today’s parable — “Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, naked or a stranger, ill or in prison and not attend to your needs?” — they imply that had they known it was the Lord they would have spared no effort. But because all they saw was a “nobody,” they did nothing. This is why they were not accounted one of the Lord’s sheep at his right, but rather a goat at his left, because they did not listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd and follow him when he said, in his great commandment, “love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12). The great test of our love for God is our love for each other, especially those people who are hardest to love. Dorothy Day, the American founder of the Catholic Worker Movement whose cause for canonization has been introduced in the Archdiocese of New York, once said, “We love God to the extent that we love the person we like the least.” We love God to the extent that we love a poor hungry beggar, or a homeless drunk, or a felon on death row, or an AIDS-infected drug user, or an illegal alien. St. John wrote in his first epistle that we cannot love the God we have not seen if we don’t love the brother or sister we do see (1 John 4:20). And Jesus wants to help us to grow in the capacity for love by making it “easier” for us, calling us to treat others the way we would treat him, since he presumes that if we knew we were caring for him directly most of us would give it our best. We can also understand the Ten Commandments on which we, too, will be judged from within this frame of the love of God shown through the love of neighbor: we honor God to the extent that we honor our parents and dishonor him when we dishonor them; whenever we hate anyone, we hate God; whenever we’re unfaithful to a spouse or a friend, we’re unfaithful to God; whenever we use another, or kill another, or abort another, or deceive another, or rob another, or get envious over what they have, we’re doing that to Jesus.
Judged Not By Jesus but by our Choice to Follow or Ignore His Word
The great question for us this morning — in fact, the single most important question of our life — is whether we have been serving or ignoring Christ in our brothers and sisters. Christ the King gives us this very clear message in today’s Gospel out of his shepherdly love for us, so that like good sheep, we may “hear his voice and follow him,” by putting this message into practice (Jn 10:27). The last thing the King wants to do is to judge us. In St. John’s Gospel, he tells us that he came to save us, but that we will essentially judge ourselves by our actions, by whether or not we conform our choices and actions to his word. “I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them,” he tells us, “for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge” (Jn 12:47-48). The judgment will be nothing more than a revelation of how we have used our freedom to live by Jesus’ words or not, how we have chosen to love Jesus or to reject Jesus directly or in disguise. Jesus tells us all of this now so that we might use our freedom to learn to reign with him by serving, by loving others as he has loved us.
Pope Francis stressed this reality in his homily this morning in St. Peter’s Square: “The Gospel teaches what Jesus’ kingdom requires of us: it reminds us that closeness and tenderness are the rule of life for us also, and that on this basis we will be judged. This is how we will be judged. … The starting point of salvation is … the imitation of Jesus’ works of mercy through which he brought about his kingdom. The one who accomplishes these works shows that he has welcomed Christ’s sovereignty, because he has opened his heart to God’s charity. In the twilight of life we will be judged on our love for, closeness to and tenderness towards our brothers and sisters. Upon this will depend our entry into, or exclusion from, the kingdom of God: our belonging to the one side or the other. Through his victory, Jesus has opened to us his kingdom. But it is for us to enter into it, beginning with our life now – his kingdom begins now – by being close in concrete ways to our brothers and sisters who ask for bread, clothing, acceptance, solidarity, catechesis. If we truly love them, we will be willing to share with them what is most precious to us, Jesus himself and his Gospel.”
Since those who will enter into Christ the King’s eternal kingdom are those who live by the principles of the kingdom here on earth — what the Eucharistic Preface today says is a “kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace” — it’s key for us to examine carefully whether we have been aligning our life to Jesus’ words and deeds. Have we truly be living in that kingdom of truth, life, holiness, grace, justice, love and peace?
When we see someone who’s hungry or thirsty, for example, do we try to help get him food or do we tell him to go get a job? And if we know that Jesus identifies with the hungry, is it enough for us to wait for someone who is hungry to approach us for food — a somewhat frequent occurrence for someone in big cities, especially outside of Churches, but a relatively rare one here in Fall River — or do we go out in search of Jesus in the disguise of the man or woman or child with hunger pains? Do we contribute to food drives like we had in our parish last week or absent ourselves or just give expired food we ourselves wouldn’t consume?
Do we welcome strangers or do we resent their presence? There is a terrible xenophobia (a fear of the stranger) present in some parts of our country, including among Catholics, with regard to immigrants. Many of us don’t see them as brothers and sisters and we certainly don’t see them as Jesus Christ. If we did, would we ever ask to see Jesus’ green card? Would we ever fight to have Jesus deported? Would we ever denote Jesus as an “illegal alien,” as if he is some type of creature from another planet? Yet this is what many Catholics clamor for with regard to immigrants who entered or stayed in our country illegally. Jesus tells us that they way we treat them is the way we treat him. We can see a similar dynamic on a lesser scale happen in Catholic parishes. When a stranger comes to Church, do we welcome him or her the way we would embrace Jesus, or do we ignore the person, or even make the person feel unwelcome if he or she doesn’t know when to stand or sit or kneel at the appropriate times, or takes our pew, or has come from the street? A few months ago I saw a FaceBook post of a new Protestant Pastor who, the week before he began his work, with the permission of the Church’s elders, came to the Church secretly dressed as a homeless person. Few of the Sunday worshippers treated him with Christian charity. They didn’t sit near him. They didn’t welcome him the way they treated and welcomed the well-dressed. In the reception after the service almost no one came to talk to him. The next week, when he was dressed in a suit and giving his first Sermon, he talked about charity, noted that the Church had a reputation for charity and asked whether it was true. Many heads nodded in assent. Then he took out the broken glasses he was wearing the previous week. Then the wig. Then the fake beard and mustache. Then the worn down coat and put on the soiled pants. And he asked them whether anyone recognize him. The people were startled. They thought that they were charitable because of some of the good causes they supported, but when a stranger came into their midst, most failed to give welcome, the welcome they would have given to their new minister, the welcome they would have given to Christ. It’s a lesson for us all.
Let’s continue with the questions that will be on the final exam of life. Do we clothe the naked or do we take advantage of their nudity? Today we’re living in an age of rampant pornography where so many are trained not to clothe the naked but strip them with their eyes and minds. So many fuel and fund the porn industry despite the fact that Jesus identifies with every person violated and objectified in this way. To look at porn is the equivalent of looking at Jesus naked or the Blessed Virgin nude, for whatever we do to the least we do to Him. Similarly when we see someone without proper clothing, do we seek to help or do we leave the person on his own? Last winter I saw a FaceBook post of a student project in Denmark where a boy was sitting in a thin t-shirt on a bus bench shivering in the winter cold. There was a hidden camera filming people’s reactions. Many just ignored him. Others looked at him and wondered, probably, how the boy’s parents could have sent him out without a winter coat. But it was beautiful to see the reaction of a few. They took off their own jackets so that he could have it, either for the time they were waiting for the bus or permanently. If you were to leave Church today and see someone without no jacket, would you give the person yours? If the person had no shoes, and was your size, would you give the person your shoes or sneakers? If the person had no winter hat, would you volunteer yours? I have no doubt that if we left Church today and saw Christ without a shirt, or with no shoes, or with no hat, we would immediately give him ours. But Christ is calling us to do the same with each person.
Do we give preferential care for those who are sick or do we ignore them lest we catch what they have? Do we go out of our way to visit those who are in hospitals and nursing homes, rehab centers or homebound? Sickness is one of the most vulnerable times of life, a time not only of pain but also of occasional desperation when one has to suffer alone. Jesus had a special care for the sick and he wants all of us to do so remembering that when we see anyone ill, we should recognize that Jesus is saying to us, “I am ill and I need you to care for me.” Do we even pray for the sick whose names are listed each week in our parish bulletin?
Do we care for prisoners at all or just think of them as a bunch of thugs toward whom our only reaction should be fear? Not everyone is called to prison ministry to strangers, but when we know someone in prison, do we seek to write that person and visit? Do we pray for those who are incarcerated? Do we seek to send Rosary Beads or Bibles to help the time of imprisonment be a time of conversion rather than of hardening of hearts? When someone is released from prison and we meet the person in Church, do we continue to treat him mainly as an ex-con or do we try to help him get back on his feet?
Resolutions Christ Wants us to Make
When we examine our consciences on the basis of today’s Gospel, probably most of us can recall those times when we really have lived up to our call as Christians to serve the “least” of our brothers and sisters with Christ-like love. But we can also recall some explicit occasions when we stiffed a homeless person, or were cheap to a missionary, or refused to open our heart to a family member or colleague who really needed our assistance. We are also aware that, like those in the Gospel, there will be countless times that the Lord will show us when we didn’t ever realize what we were doing or to whom we were doing it. How will they stack up? Will the pluses of loving deeds outweigh the minuses of selfish omissions?
Sometimes we can get caught up in this type of calculus, as if God is a pedantic accountant. But that is not what he wants us to do. The Lord wants us to respond on this feast day to the Gospel about living in his Kingdom here on earth so as to live with him forever in heaven not by worry or calculus or curiosity but by two resolutions. The first is that if we’ve committed sins in the past, he wants us to make a good examination of conscience and a good confession, full of sorrow, so that we can receive the mercy that flows from his shepherdly heart. It’s a very good practice to end the part of confession in which we tell the priest our sins by saying something like, “and for all the sins of my life, including those of which I’m not even aware, I beg for God’s mercy.” The second resolution is that the Lord wants us to get practical, to develop those means to learn how to recognize him, love him and serve him in others.
Sometimes the Lord helps us to grasp this lesson in extraordinary ways. We see this in some of the conversion stories of the saints. When St. Martin of Tours met the poor shivering man at the gates of Amiens and dismounted his horse and evaginated his Roman lance, the poor man thought that his life was about to end. But Martin instead severed his great Roman cape in two and covered the poor man with half of it. Later that night, Jesus appeared to him in a dream wearing the other half of Martin’s cape saying that Martin had clothed him. There’s also the story of St. John of God, the great Spanish saint who cared so much for the poor and sick. Once, when a poor man asked him for some alms and St. John of God was reaching into his pocket to give him what he had, he noticed that the man’s bare feet had holes in them. The Lord helped him to see that every time he was caring for a poor man, he was caring for Christ himself. The most famous story of all is of St. Francis of Assisi with the leper. One day as a young carefree troubadour he was riding out and met a leper asking for alms. Francis was repulsed but tossed from his horse some money onto the ground and sped away. But his conscience panged him, and he returned, dismounded, picked up the money, pressed it into the leper’s hands, flung his arms around the leper, hugged him and kissed him, and as he brought his face back to look the leper in the eye, the face of the leper had turned into the face of Christ.
How do we, however, recognize the face of Christ when people don’t have his stigmata or his features? Those on Christ’s eternal left likely would not have failed the test of love had they seen Christ in the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the lame, the leper, the unwanted, the scorned, the handicapped, the other. If they had seen Christ in them, then, they imply, they never would have failed to take care of his needs. I think they’re on to something really important. The more aware we are of the presence of Christ, the greater we will love and the less we’ll ever be attempted to sin. We can learn how to have this greater awareness from putting into practice an insight that Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, perhaps the greatest saint of our lifetime, had. Mother Teresa dedicated her entire life, and the mission of her community, to “quenching Jesus’ infinite thirst,” to serving him in the “distressing disguise” of the poorest of the poor. She began with those abandoned to die in the sewers of Calcutta, and spread that mission to all the abandoned and neglected throughout the world. The only way, she said, she could recognize Christ in the disfigured and distended faces of the ill and the dying was if she “zeroed in” on his face in prayer. At the beginning, she had her community do a holy hour every day, for she said that the more she looked at Jesus in the Eucharist, the easier it was to see him in others. But she soon started to realize that one hour was not enough, because by the end of the day, she was failing to sense the Lord’s apperance in the gruesome sights and foul odors enveloping the ones brought to her Home for the Dying. So she and her sisters determined to do three hours of prayer each day, which is what they still do today, including in their convent in New Bedford. The only way that the Missionaries of Charity could effectively see Christ in others was to contemplate him in the Mass, in Eucharistic adoration, and face to face in prayer. That’s one of the reasons why I am constantly inviting every member of this parish to make a commitment to Eucharistic adoration each week, because the more we focus on Christ’s presence under the appearance of bread and wine, and give him the homage and the love that he is due, then the easier it becomes to recognize him under the human disguise of a brother and a sister. And our salvation depends on the charity that is facilitated by that recognition.
Jesus wants us to find in the needy because Jesus on the Cross was himself needy in all of the ways he described. He was hungry and cried out, “I thirst!” He was stripped totally naked (the loin cloth with which he’s vested on the Crucifix is merely for our sense of decorum). He was a stranger even in the world he created, kicked out of his own city of Jerusalem to die as a malefactor at the place of the skull. He was sick and wounded, having had his flesh ripped open by a brutal Roman scourging, having been beaten and crowned with thorns. He was imprisoned not only in the high priest’s dungeon but pinned to the cross not by chains but by nails. He continues to live out that need in others, many of whom are being crucified in want. The more we look to him in the sacrifice of his Body and Blood, the more we behold him on the Cross, the more we draw close to him in prayer, the easier it is to see his sufferings in the suffering members of his Mystical Body
Doing as Christ has done for us
Today as we come to this Mass, we ask the Lord Jesus, whom we will behold under the appearances of simple bread and wine here, to help us to recognize him in the disguise of the poor we’ll meet later in the day. We ask him to help us to hunger and thirst for the charity toward others for which he hungers and thirsts. We beg him to help us to see that we, too, are strangers on pilgrimage together with him and that just as he has provided for us, we’re called to share that generosity: that we’re ill because of our sins and need a doctor and that he’s always been there; that we’re naked and transparent before him but that he wants to clothe us in his virtues; that we’re imprisoned in our own worldly logic that rationalizes the lack of charity and that he wants to help us to use our freedom to do as much good as we can, to love as much as we can, to grow to do for others what he has first done for us. And we also turn to him with gratitude for the way he, our King and Shepherd, has never failed to are for us in our need. To the hungry, he gives his own flesh to eat. To all of us who are thirsty, he quenches us with his own blood. To all of us who were alienated from his kingdom, he welcomed us and reconciled us to the Father. To those of us who were ill and afflicted, he comforted us by joining us to him in our sufferings and thereby giving our sufferings redemptive meaning and value. To those of us imprisoned by sin, he not only visited us, but freed us from our cells, breaking down the bars once and for all and showing us the way out. Jesus fulfilled each of these corporal works of mercy by giving of himself in love. This shows what the fulfillment of human life is: to give of ourselves out of love to God and others in such a way that this self-gift of ours becomes the gift of Christ himself to others. We’re called to give not just bread and water, not just medicine and clothing, but ourselves together with Christ. This is the way Christ’s kingdom will reign in us. This is the fulfillment of our prayer, “Thy Kingdom come!” If we faithfully respond in love to these great salvific graces, and act on them by imitating Christ in reigning by serving others, then it is our firm hope that at the end of our earthly pilgrimage, we will see Christ, the King of the Universe wave us to his eternal rite and say those extraordinary words he’s been waiting to say since before he said, “Let there be light”: “Come, O you who are so blessed of my Father: inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world.” That is the way we’ll enter with the angels and the saints into the ceaseless hymn, Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
The readings for today’s Mass were:
Reading 1 ez 34:11-12, 15-17
I myself will look after and tend my sheep.
As a shepherd tends his flock
when he finds himself among his scattered sheep,
so will I tend my sheep.
I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered
when it was cloudy and dark.
I myself will pasture my sheep;
I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD.
The lost I will seek out,
the strayed I will bring back,
the injured I will bind up,
the sick I will heal,
but the sleek and the strong I will destroy,
shepherding them rightly.As for you, my sheep, says the Lord GOD,
I will judge between one sheep and another,
between rams and goats.
Responsorial Psalm ps 23:1-2, 2-3, 5-6
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose.
R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Reading 2 1 cor 15:20-26, 28
Brothers and sisters:
Christ has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since death came through man,
the resurrection of the dead came also through man.
For just as in Adam all die,
so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,
but each one in proper order:
Christ the firstfruits;
then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ;
then comes the end,
when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father,
when he has destroyed every sovereignty
and every authority and power.
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
When everything is subjected to him,
then the Son himself will also be subjected
to the one who subjected everything to him,
so that God may be all in all.
Gospel mt 25:31-46
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was 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.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left,
‘Depart from me, you accursed,
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 no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life.”