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Bad or Good?

I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to Me
Ezekiel 34:11-12,15-17; Psalm 23:1-3,5-6; 1 Corinthians 15:20-26,28; Matthew 25:31-46

Sermon Week Christ The King (Thirty-Fourth Sunday) Cycle A

Scripture Summary Matthew 25:40

In a magazine cartoon, Santa Claus is pictured at his workbench, putting a new toy together. From his nearby TV set, he hears a reporter saying,

We continue our look at the real meaning of Christmas sales indicators. In the fourth quarter, consumers have dramatically cut back their spending, which could slow the economy, which might be a healthy development after their earlier borrowing, which boosted the economy but added to concerns of low savings and overstimulation, leading to sluggish sales as we enter into the all-important Christmas season.

Santa looks up and says to himself, "It used to be a lot easier to know if they've been bad or good."

Jesus' timeless "Parable of the Last Judgment" in today's Gospel Lesson provides Santa with an easy answer to his problem. The parable is Jesus' once-and-for-all, definitive, foolproof way of knowing "if they've been bad or good."

Come, you whom My Father has blessed," says the Lord, and "take for your heritage the Kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me food; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you made Me welcome; naked and you clothed Me, sick, and you visited Me, in prison and you came to Me. I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to Me" (Mt. 25:34-36,40).

Do you believe that? Do you accept Jesus' vision of the coming Kingdom of God? Are you a Christian visionary? Do you accept Jesus' criteria for judging whether you are good or bad -- whether you are a kind and compassionate, spiritually grounded person and, therefore, an authentic citizen of the Kingdom? Jesus says that it is the kind deed, the act born of loving concern for another's need on which the Father pronounces His blessing and for which the Father welcomes us into His Kingdom.

A middle-aged man decided to visit a clinic and undergo a complete physical. He told the interviewing doctor that [...]

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