Today’s Readings Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18 Matthew 25:31-46
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
Today’s first reading explains, in typical Old Testament fashion, how we are not supposed to lead our lives. While the list that God gave Moses is necessary and important, it provides no explanation of how to act, simply how not to act. This certainly contrasts the Gospel reading, in which Jesus outlines what defines those that will join him in Heaven and those that will not. In Jesus’ explanation he does not say that those who receive eternal life are those who commit the fewest number of sins, rather he points out the good that we should do throughout our lives.
The fact that underlies Jesus’ teaching in the Gospel is that we can encounter God in other people. God is present in all things and people because he is the origin of their existence, similar to how an artist is present in his artwork. Jesus encourages us to welcome, care for, and fulfil the basic needs of other people as if we were doing the deed for God himself. The other side of Jesus’ teaching explains that the love or physical care withheld from another person is also withheld from God. Remembering that anything I do for or to another person is essentially done also to God definitely makes me think twice about the way I act in that other person’s presence.
Later, Jesus would push the command even further when he told us to love each other not just as much as we love ourselves but to the degree that he loved us – by ‘emptying’ himself and giving his life for every single one of us.
If we all remembered this Gospel reading at the beginning of each day, how many of our world’s problems would disappear due to the simple desire to treat those around us the same way we would treat God himself?
Let’s accept Jesus’ invitation and strive to seek God in everyone around us throughout our daily lives.