Introit: Like the eyes of slaves on the hands of their lords,
so our eyes are on the Lord our God, till he show us his mercy.
Have mercy on us Lord, have mercy!
My brothers and sisters,
Lent always begins with readings of the Commandments, the Code of how we should act.
And we’re struck by our failures,
we realize how we have offended our neighbor,
how we have harmed and hated in our hearts.
But Lent is also “our Time Acceptable,”
the time to say we’re sorry,
to ask forgiveness and the help to start over.
I confess, etc….
The Gospel Matthew 25:31-46
Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place 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.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left,
‘Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life.”
After the Gospel:
Our Teacher just told us what’s going to be on the test,
He laid out exactly what to look for on our final exam.
It won’t be a True or False test,
won’t be a Multiple Choice,
won’t be an Essay test you can bluff your way thru …
It’ll be an oral exam…
One question: We’ll be examined on love … nothing else.
He doesn’t refer to Commandments or rules,
He doesn’t look for pious externals…
It’s very simple: He says we’ll be examined on how we treated others,
if we treated them the way we would want to be treated.
For those of us who confess impatience and anger,
who get distracted in prayer,
who trip over shameful thoughts …
For those of us afraid we’re not earning our salvation by enough pious practices…
He tells us exactly what the Final Exam will be.
The only way we can prep for the exam is to put on the mind of Christ…
See others the way God sees them … see their need … reach out …
Walk the way Jesus walked,
do what He did…
It’s our FINAL EXAM, meaning: No repeat or make-up is possible, you take it only once.
But we already know exactly what’ll be on the test.
He just told us.