Date: October 14, 2018
Jesus talks about salvation in different contexts to different audiences and in different ways throughout the Gospels. Sometimes he’s pretty confusing. Sometimes he’s a little clearer.
Sometimes he speaks in parables and stories. But, nowhere else does Jesus so explicitly tell us than in our reading from Matthew’s gospel this week. Our scripture reading draws us to a challenging story about the consequences of not expressing love in the parable of the sheep and the goats. There is nothing soft and heartwarming. It’s rather piercing!
Here Jesus divides humanity into two teams: the sheep and the goats. The sheep go to his “right hand,” are declared “blessed” and “inherit the kingdom prepared for them since the foundation of the world.” The “goats” on the other hand, aren’t quite as fortunate. They go to his “left hand,” are declared “accursed,” and are relegated to an eternity of “punishment.”
Stop and ask yourself, which team would you prefer to be on? I think Jesus makes this choice a pretty easy one.
Now, how do we get on the sheep team? How do we get picked for sheep duty? Well, the Good News is that Jesus tells us in detail. Being sheep of the shepherd is about following our shepherd’s lead and loving others as he has loved us.