Jesus reveals a sobering look at the Judgment in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of the Fear of the Lord so he can continually remember The Four Last Things and by growing in the Virtue of Charity so he can always promptly respond to the suffering of others with the Works of Mercy.
1st Week of Lent – Monday – Mt 25:31-46
As the Passion approaches, Jesus assembles the Apostles outside of Jerusalem on the nearby Mount of Olives and gives His Olivet Discourse (Mt 24-25), revealing future calamities, His Second Coming, and the unavoidable Judgment of all men. With His Passion only a few days away, Jesus warns the disciples of mankind’s coming trials and the need for men to be well-prepared for the coming Judgment.
In the Parable of the Sheep and Goats, Jesus confirms the reality of the Kingdom of Heaven, Hell and each soul’s eternal Judgment. Christ reigns authoritatively (The King of the Universe, seated on a throne) as the glorious King of the Kingdom of Heaven, a place of great honor (the “right hand” in ancient cultures was a place of the good and honorable), surrounded by angels since the foundation of the world. Jesus confirms that Hell, a place of dishonor and punishment (the “left hand” represented evil and dishonor) is a place of eternal fire, prepared for the rebellious dark angel Satan, his demons and the souls of the evil. Jesus Christ will judge the nations and all men at the end of time, drawing some (the sheep, the right hand) to the blessings of God the Father in Heaven and banishing others (goats, the left hand) to the curses of Satan in the eternal fire of Hell.
Jesus perfectly loves and personally identifies with His disciples (“brothers of mine”) and all those who suffer (“the least”). Jesus, with supernatural knowledge, mysteriously knows those who care for those who suffer, and those who abuse and neglect the suffering. Jesus gives very specific examples of merciful acts that He calls men to perform: to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to welcome the stranger, to clothe the naked, to comfort the sick, and to visit the imprisoned (The Corporal Works of Mercy include these and add bury the dead).
Be awed by Jesus Christ
The perfection of Charity, Jesus the Divine King perfectly demonstrates the Corporal Works of Mercy throughout His 3-year public ministry, and with His Divine Knowledge of eternity, Warns each man of the fear-inducing truth of each man’s coming Judgment and the demanding standards of Charity by which men will be judged; some will be rewarded with the blessings of Heaven, many others will go to “the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.”
Continually remember The Four Last Things
Realize: Based on Jesus’ teaching, the Church has always taught men about the Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell.
Believe: During these early days of Lent, review His Holy Catholic Church’s teaching on the Four Last Things (CCC 1006-1065).
Pray: Holy Spirit, help me to always fear God’s just punishment of sin in the fires of Hell and the loss of Heaven, and bless me with the Gift of the Fear of the Lord so I recognize my sinfulness, I fear being separated from You due to my freely chosen mortal sin, and I always strive to please You.
Respond to other’s suffering with Works of Mercy
Realize: Jesus commands every Catholic man to perform Works of Mercy and makes it clear that a man’s Works of Mercy will have a substantial effect on his eternal destiny.
Believe: Reflect upon the Works of Mercy (CCC 2447).
Pray: Jesus, Divine Mercy, help me build the Virtue of Charity so I always recognize and am filled with deep empathy for the physical, mental, and spiritual suffering of others, and I am aways moved to generously respond with Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy to comfort their suffering.