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Lenten Weekday
Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18
Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 15
Matthew 25:31-46
The first reading is a morality lesson that ends with “You shall love your neighbor as
The psalmist says that the law of the Lord is Spirit and Life. This Gospel from Matthew
is Jesus’ teaching about the judgment of all people. Jesus describes the judgment like
when the shepherd separates goats from sheep.
One of my favorite memories of this gospel being told is from the 1960’s play and
. I remember the charismatic Jesus with his superman t-shirt separating
his followers into two group as they mimicked goats and sheep. Faithfully they moved
into two groups. The first group was told they would inherit the kingdom and they
camera catches the happy faces of the sheep. Then he condemns the others to hell.
They protest and ask why? Jesus reminds them that they were not kind to him when
he was poor, hungry, homeless, imprisoned, and naked. They goats questioned Jesus,
“We never saw you poor, hungry, homeless, imprisoned, or naked.” Jesus responds,
“What you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.”
I am proud to be a part of a parish that tends to the hungry, feeds homeless
each week day, shares clothes and other resources with giving bank client
and with our friends in Haiti with the help of Hands Together. Our juvenile
justice ministry visits teens in prison. And as a parish, we have adopted a
homeless family. Certainly many of us support these efforts in monetary
means, time in service, and certainly in our prayer and affection.
But of late, I am struggling with events that continue to plague our church.
The abuse scandals keep going on and on. Good people are protecting the
vulnerable. Yet some people made some very bad choices in the past. It is
rather easy for me to sit in the chair of judgment. This was good, this was
pastoral, this was evil. Then I am reminded of two things.
First. The judgment chair belongs to God. I could not dare to sit on it. I am
so comfortable that it is God’s judgment. We are so blessed to have a God
who is merciful. Perhaps I am naïve, or perhaps I would feel differently if
my son or daughter had been abused. But I am a victim of child sexual
abuse. Although my abuser was not in any way involved with the church; I
know the pain, I know the guilt, I know the shame. As an adult do I wish bad