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.” (Mt 25:31-32)
One of the quirky parts of our human nature is that we always look for exceptions. A student’s paper is late. Will an exception be made if the student got hurt the day before the assignment was due (even if the project was assigned two months ago)? A project did not get completed at work. Will the boss accept the excuse that a long-lost family member came in to town a couple of days before and you have been busy entertaining?
Whatever the failed submission, we have an excuse.
And, generally, many of our excuses are accepted by family, friends, teachers, or employers.
Which is why the parable in today’s Gospel may have been so difficult for people to hear back then as well as now.
There is no gray area. There are no excuses. There is no project deadline extension.
When the Son of Man comes, game over.
We are assembled and are put into two groups: sheep and goats.
Trust me. You want to be a sheep.
On that day, we will not be able to say, “Lord, if I had another five minutes, I would have been all over that. I would have helped that person. I would have protected that stranger. I would have given comfort to the one in need.”
No. We will not be able to cover our inactivity and our lack of care with any excuse. And, off with the other goats, we will go.
The only way to avoid being put into the wrong group at the end of time? Live in the correct group today, right now.
FAITH ACTION: Do some positive good for a stranger today.