A passage from the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Matthew, from today’s Mass for the Monday of the First Week of Lent:
Matthew 25: 31-46
“But when the Son of man will have arrived in his majesty, and all the Angels with him, then he will sit upon the seat of his majesty.
And all the nations shall be gathered together before him. And he shall separate them from one another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
And he shall station the sheep, indeed, on his right, but the goats on his left.
Then the King shall say to those who will be on his right: ‘Come, you blessed of my Father. Possess the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in; naked, and you covered me; sick, and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me.’
Then the just will answer him, saying: ‘Lord, when have we see you hungry, and fed you; thirsty, and given you drink? And when have we seen you a stranger, and taken you in? Or naked, and covered you? Or when did we see you sick, or in prison, and visit to you?’
And in response, the King shall say to them, ‘Amen I say to you, whenever you did this for one of these, the least of my brothers, you did it for me.’
Then he shall also say, to those who will be on his left: ‘Depart from me, you accursed ones, into the eternal fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry, and you did not give me to eat; I was thirsty, and you did not give me to drink;
I was a stranger and you did not take me in; naked, and you did not cover me; sick and in prison, and you did not visit me.’
Then they will also answer him, saying: ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to you?’
Then he shall respond to them by saying: ‘Amen I say to you, whenever you did not do it to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.’
And these shall go into eternal punishment, but the just shall go into eternal life.””
You’re still living, and thus can still choose. Sheep or goats? Eternity: Smoking or non-smoking? Lent is that time of the year where you can be focused on “self-improvement,” if by that abused term you mean casting off the character defects that dominates your life and “put on Christ,” to become more like Him. Will you succeed? Maybe not as well as you hope to, but no matter how well you try, you’ll be that much closer to the Lord in how you live.
And as the passage from Matthew’s Gospel says, there are things that you can do to ensure your salvation.
For as Jesus said in another part of Matthew’s Gospel:
Matthew 7: 21-23
“Not all who say to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven. But whoever does the will of my Father, who is in heaven, the same shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and perform many powerful deeds in your name?’
And then will I disclose to them: ‘I have never known you. Depart from me, you workers of iniquity.’”
So, faith alone does not save. You have to do something, something that tell the World “I am a Christian, and by these works you know this!”
And in doing these works, you are doing the work of God.
Scripture passages via:
via Catholic Public Domain Version of the Sacred Bible.