When the Son of Man comes in his glory with all his angels, he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be brought before him; and, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, so will he do with them, placing the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.
The king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, blessed of my Father! Take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed me into your home. I was naked, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you visited me. I was in prison, and you came to see me.’
Then the righteous will ask him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, and give you food; thirsty, and give you something to drink; or a stranger, and welcome you; or naked, and clothe you? When did we see you sick, or in prison, and go to see you?’ The king will answer, ‘Truly I say to you: just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it to me.’
Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Go, cursed people, out of my sight, into the eternal fire, which has been prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry, and you did not give me anything to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not welcome me into your house; I was naked, and you did not clothe me; I was sick, and in prison, and you did not visit me.’
They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, thirsty, naked or a stranger, sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ The king will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you: just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for me.’
And these will go into eternal punishment; but the just, to eternal life.”
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
This injunction of God, as we find it in today’s first reading, may sound baffling to some Christians who wrongly equate love of self with selfishness. But those are in reality two quite different—and opposite—loves. This is how it all works out.
Our selves are created by God, who declares them “very good” (Gen 1:31). Therefore our selves deserve to be loved, because they are indeed lovable. Unfortunately sin destroyed the harmony existing within the self. The self was fractured into two selves from then on: one of these retained its natural goodness, its natural attraction to God as to the self’s supreme fulfillment. Under God’s grace, that self gives itself more and more to its Creator and Lover. But the other fragmented part of man—let us call this his ego—remained stubbornly fixated in its rebellion against God, in its desire to be the center of the universe. Since the original sin of Adam and Eve, all humans are thus born with a fragmented inner nature having two sides, the self and the ego. Since then, each of us must choose between loving the good self turned toward God and neighbor or loving the ego and becoming a monster of egoism. Thus the love of the self is highly desirable. It is the very opposite of ego-love or egotism.
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