The Judgment of the Nations
Reflection on the Gospel of the Tuesday
Nowhere else does Jesus so explicitly tell us who’s going to Heaven and who’s going to Hell like he does in today’s Gospel. Now, how do we get on the sheep team? Well, the Good News is that Jesus tells us in detail of that too.
What Jesus is doing here, at the end of his earthly ministry, is making it very clear to us who claim to be his disciples that there is no grey area at all when it comes to following him. You’re either with him or you aren’t.
The way to tell which it is, is by looking at how we live your life. To be on the sheep team means that you’re caring for the poor, the needy, the sick, and the lonely in some form. To not do such things means obviously the opposite and leading ourselves into the goat team.
One of the amazing things highlighted here is that the sheep didn’t know that they were earning heaven by their actions. The sheep weren’t just fending for themselves or trying to earn God’s favour or desperately trying to avoid punishment and earn eternal rewards for themselves.
They saw people in need and they served them. They were living their lives of faith and focused on God and the needs of others, instead on themselves and their own needs only. The reality is that there is no checklist of good deeds to fill out.
Jesus here is talking about a manner of living one’s life, and it isn’t motivated out of the fear of Hell or the hope of Heaven, but a life that’s driven by authentic love. And no one else but Jesus himself demonstrates that at his crucifixion. He loved God and us with his life and his death and that is exactly what he asks of us.
And like at all times in the Gospel; our Lord leaves the choice to us to live and walk into and be part of the sheep team or the goat team.