Leap of Faith

Today’s Gospel could be seen as an example of what St. Paul is explaining in the second reading. First, he tells us that the resurrection of Christ is not the end of God’s reign, but the beginning. Since death came into the world with the sin of Adam, Christ’s death saved us from sin and his resurrection saves us from death. Now that he is risen, he will complete his reign over all creation, meaning that everything in creation that turned away from God will now be subject to God. Since Christ had to die before he could rise, the last enemy to be subjected is death; so too do we have to die before we can rise.

When all this happens, everything will show God’s glory. God will be seen in all of creation. Jesus will be seen as equal to the Father, not just a man, but the Son of God. The Gospel gives us the image of a king on his throne, surrounded by his subjects. And then comes the final judgment.

The rest of the Gospel is symbolic description of that judgment. I always thought the point of this parable was that we recognize God in the poor, the sick, the homeless, prisoners, etc. But the people in the parable who helped all those in need did not recognize Christ in the needy. That’s why he tells them that whatever we do for “these least ones,” we do for Christ.

That is actually good news, because it is not always easy to recognize Christ in others. I used to think that once I start seeing Christ in all people, I’ll be more willing to help them. But it also works the other way. When you help someone in need, you begin to see Christ there, too. This means that we cannot use not seeing Christ in others as an excuse to put o helping them. (“Sure, I’ll help those drug addicts – as soon as I see Jesus in them.”) Whether it is a death-row prisoner or a homeless family, we need to take that leap of faith to help, not knowing if we will ever see Christ in them. Remember, God forgives and saves us because we need God, not because we deserve it.

-Tom Schmidt

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