Gospel: Mt 25:31-46
Jesus said to his disciples, “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.“
The Tree of Holiness
In todays’ reading we hear Yahweh reveal to Moses the fundamental Law: “Be holy, for I, Yahweh, your God am holy.“ What is holiness? How does one become holy?
Holiness is following the way of Christ. And the way of Christ is the way of the Cross! Under the sign of the Cross we pray, bless, and are sanctified. It is in the sign of the Cross that we become holy. The Cross has two dimensions, namely, the vertical and the horizontal. The vertical dimension tells us to raise our eyes to God in heaven in prayer. The horizontal dimension tells us to reach out to our brothers and sisters in charity, in the corporal works of mercy. This reminds me of two beautiful literary pieces.
In “The Trees“ Joyce Kilmer wrote:
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
Holiness is stretching our arms in prayer.
The other literary piece is “The Giving Tree“ by Shel Silverstein. It is the story of an apple tree that gives itself to a man from boyhood to adulthood. The “giving tree“ gave its entire life to the boy. Holiness is giving until it hurts, giving until nothing remains!
Yes, holiness is about the Cross! Holiness is becoming like Jesus who prayed with outstretched arms and giving all! Holiness comes in the form of The Tree of Life, the Cross!