Daily Office Readings for Wednesday of Proper 10: Year 2
Morning, Psalm 38; Evening, Psalm 119:25-48;
Joshua 3:1-13; Romans 11:25-36; Matthew 25:31-46:
“All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.” (Matthew 25: 32 – 33)
This sheep – goat metaphor gives the goats a bad look. It seems particularly unfair to me as it makes it seem as if the simple appearance of the animal, being a sheep or a goat, is all the justification necessary. It is perhaps easy for God to look upon the human heart and make this distinction however. God in Christ Jesus can see clearly who we are, and much of who we are seems to be determined by how we act or respond to the needs of others. Let those who have ears hear.
The bottom line here is that there is a judgment day. There is a resurrection for the goats and the sheep among us where there will be accountability and apparently some kind of separation. The good news is that unlike real goats and sheep, we have a choice. We can live the lives of the sheep by stretching out our hearts in such a way that we feel the pain and neglect of those who are hungry, those who are sick, and those who are incarcerated.
I think the real difference between the sheep and the goats is the concern, (or lack of concern), we might have for our neighbor. This is about compassion versus self serving. Some acts of self serving can even be seen as hostile to those who are in need, whom we choose to ignore. Can we not all help one another at least to just be okay? Our Lord Jesus wants us to be his sheep in this metaphor. We can choose to be sheep in so far as it means being kind to others. Not ba a a a ad, huh?
Please note that the sheep and goats were not separated based on what they professed with their lips, but rather, what they did with their time, hearts, hands and steps. They were separated based on how they responded, or not responded, to the needs of others, without regard to their belief or non-belief, of themselves, or others. We don’t necessarily need to change what people believe, but we necessarily must love and care for those in need.
Let us also love and care for the people of Ukraine. They are in real need right now.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John