Gospel Reflection – Monday, February 19, 2024 – Matthew 25,31-46 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Lv 19:1-2,11-18)

Reading from the Book of Leviticus.

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to the whole assembly of the children of Israel and say to them: Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy.

Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another. Do not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God. I am the Lord.

Do not defraud your neighbor or rob him. Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight. Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the Lord. Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.

Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord. Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt.

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

– The word of the Lord.

– Thanks be to God.

Gospel (Mt 25:31-46)

— PROCLAMATION of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew.

— Glory to you, Lord!

At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

— The Gospel of the Lord.

— Praise to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

Brothers and sisters in Christ, may the peace of the Lord be with you. Today, I would like to begin our reflection with a question: have you ever felt invisible? Have you experienced the sensation of being overlooked, without anyone paying attention or recognition to you? In our lives, we often find ourselves in situations where we feel insignificant, as if our actions have no impact or importance. But I have good news for you: God sees us, knows us, and calls us to make a difference in this world.

In this liturgy, the Sacred Scriptures speak to us about the importance of loving our neighbor and caring for the most needy. In the First Reading, from the Book of Leviticus (Lv 19:1-2,11-18), we find a series of commandments given by God to the people of Israel. The Lord says: “Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy.” And among these commandments, we find the call to love our neighbor as ourselves. God calls us to treat others with justice, not to hold grudges, not to be vengeful, not to exploit the weaker ones. He calls us to be holy, reflecting His love and mercy in our lives.

And in the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 25:31-46), we find one of the most powerful and challenging passages in the entire Bible. Jesus speaks to us about the final judgment, where He separates the sheep from the goats. To the sheep, He says: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” And to the sheep, He says: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

These words of Jesus confront us and challenge us deeply. They show us that our relationship with God is intrinsically linked to our relationship with others. Loving God and loving our neighbor are inseparable. What we do for the most needy, we do for Jesus. What we give to the hungry, the thirsty, the strangers, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned, we give to Him.

But how can we apply these truths in our daily lives? Let me share some practical guidelines. Firstly, we need to open our eyes and our hearts to the needs around us. Often, we are so busy with our own lives and concerns that we do not see those who are beside us, who are suffering and in need of help. We need to be attentive to the signs of hunger, thirst, loneliness, and pain that are present in our world.

Furthermore, we must remember that loving our neighbor goes beyond words. It is not enough to simply say that we love; we must act. This means reaching out to those in need, sharing what we have, being compassionate and generous. We can start small, by doing good in the little things of everyday life, but never underestimating the impact we can have on someone’s life.

It is also important to remember that each person is a child of God, worthy of love and respect. Regardless of their appearance, their origin, their financial or social situation. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and compassion. We must not allow prejudices or stereotypes to prevent us from reaching out and welcoming our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Dear friends, the central message of these biblical passages is that God calls us to love our neighbor with generosity and compassion. He challenges us to step out of our comfort zone, to look beyond ourselves, and to act for others. After all, love is not just an emotion but a concrete action.

To illustrate this truth, let me share a story with you. Once there was a man walking along a beach filled with starfish that had been washed ashore by the tide. He noticed a child picking up the starfish and throwing them back into the sea, one by one. Curious, he approached and asked, “Why are you doing that? There are so many starfish, you can’t save them all.” The child looked at him, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the ocean, saying, “For this starfish, it makes all the difference.”

This story reminds us that even though we may not be able to change the whole world, we can make a difference in one person’s life at a time. Every act of kindness, every gesture of love matters. Do not underestimate the power you have in your hands to transform lives and bring hope to discouraged hearts.

As we approach the end of this homily, I want to challenge you to take these words to heart and to act. Take a moment to reflect on how you can be instruments of God’s love in the world. Ask yourself, “Who are the needy around me? How can I reach out and make a difference in their lives?” And then, make the decision to act, to be agents of change and hope.

Dear brothers and sisters, remember that you are loved by God and called to love your neighbor. Do not let the world’s invisibility discourage you, for God sees you and calls you to be a light in this world. Follow the example of Christ, who came to serve and not to be served, who gave His life out of love for us. Be His hands and His feet, bringing love wherever you go.

May the grace of God accompany you, strengthening you in your journey of love and service. May the light of the Holy Spirit shine in your hearts, guiding you every step of the way. And may the hope in Christ motivate you to never give up doing good. So be it. Amen.