Faith Daily | 22 February 2021
PRAYER of the WEEK Lent One
O Lord, who for our sake fasted forty days and forty nights:
give us grace to use such abstinence,
that, our flesh being subdued to the spirit,
we may ever obey your godly will
in righteousness and true holiness;
to your honour and glory,
who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end.
Amen APBA p482
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 25:31-46
‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that 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 something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me 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 nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Rev'd Graham
Often when I read or hear this passage, I am called to wonder what the difference is between the sheep and the goats, knowing that at times I have belonged to either group – the sheep as I apply myself to serving others, or the goats as I go on my own self-satisfying way. I thank God that I have learnt which group I prefer to belong to, not for any rewards, but because it makes sense and is more meaningful.
To me, the sheep represent those who possibly have been influenced by the example and teaching of Jesus, possibly as “lambs’, and have made a conscious choice to order their lives to practise what they have learnt either directly or indirectly from him. As “lambs”, some have grown in their awareness of the blessings they have received, and have determined to pass on these blessings to others through their action, even though they may have not felt worthy initially. Others may even live lives which reflect God’s love, even though they may not know it directly or express it as such, and for this we need to be thankful.
The goats, on the other hand, may or may not have experienced the presence of Jesus in their lives, but are prone to get on with their own lives and indulgences without any concern for others – a bit like skittish goats. (Yes, there are many distractions which pull us in alternative – often self-centred – directions.) Also, this group may well include the false prophets Jesus refers to in previous statements, who are opposed to his way of life. I believe that we are called to witness to the “goats” – not to judge them – and trust that they will, in the power of the Spirit, come to know the relevance of God’s love for them as well.
As Christians, we are called to use our God-given gifts – which include personal abilities ("talents" in the everyday sense), as well as personal wealth – in the service of God, and to take risks for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Our calling – our vocation – both individually and communally, is to respond and witness to those with various kinds of needs, not just in words, but in action, and to stand with them in love.
FINAL PRAYER: David Adam “Clouds and Glory”
Christ, we confess you as King of kings and Lord of lords;
come, rule in our hearts and claim us as part of your kingdom.
We seek to dedicate our lives to you and to your glory.
Come, Lord, rule in our hearts.
Come, Lord, rule in our homes.
Come, Lord, rule in our lives.
Come, Lord, and transform your people.
Lord, we seek to do your will.
Your kingdom come in us as it is in heaven.