Beloved in Christ,
"And the king will answer... Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of my brethren, you did it to me" (Mt 25:40). Are you prepared to enter the Kingdom of God? This Sunday's apocalyptic masterpiece reminds us of our supernatural destiny, which will commence when Christ returns in glory at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, as we mention in the Creed. On his day, the dies irae- the day of wrath, Jesus will discharge judgment between those who live for others and those who live for themselves; he will judge between the rams and goats, one sheep and another.
This Matthean discourse is a call for preparation to enter God's Kingdom. It presents practical acts of love as the way to get ready for the final judgment that Jesus, the king of the universe, will carry out when he returns in glory at the end of time. The world's judgment will be based on deeds of love that the faithful have carried out. This emphasis on good deeds is not a denial of the essence of faith in Christ and his church membership. The necessity of faith is implied, and it is a natural assumption of the expectation of the Christian community to which the gospel is addressed. Faith and work of charity and mercy go hand in hand; one cannot be untied from the other.
In verses 35-36 of Mt. 25, Jesus presents six of the seven corporal works of mercy (the additional one is to bury the dead)that our faith catechetical tradition considers a prerequisite to entering the kingdom of God. All these charitable acts to the poor and those in need, when done due to faith in Jesus, are done to Jesus. This teaching considers human moral acts as a consequence of faith in God as profitable in the eyes of God because God takes them seriously. Moral actions and charitable deeds done in the name of Jesus will count on the judgment we receive on the day of the Lord.
Jesus is the Lord of Lords and the king of the universe. We must accept this item of faith as meaning that Jesus must reign and have dominion over our soul, mind, spirit, thoughts, and body. When we accept his kingship, then we necessarily will act in ways that are pleasing to him; we must serve him and his kingdom. In the next four weeks of Advent, we must intensify our preparation for the coming of Jesus and his judgment. There are always sufficient means to help us in our preparation. The parish has a lot of spiritual activities, both liturgical and extra-liturgical, to help us in the lifetime of preparation for the coming judgment of the King of kings. Please check your advent leaflet and bulletin frequently and respond to the invitation.
I'll conclude with the following questions for your meditation as we prepare for Advent in preparation for Christmas: Is Jesus the king of your life? What are you doing for Jesus?
In His Joy,
Fr. Alayode Bernard Oniwe, OP