Matthew 25:31-46 NRSVue
31“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. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, 35for 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, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37Then 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? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me.’ 41Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You who are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels, 42for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I 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.’ 44Then 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?’ 45Then 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.’ 46And these will go away into eternal punishment but the righteous into eternal life.”
“Copyright © 2021 National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.”
Some thoughts on this scripture
Each group goes to the place it has chosen. Those whose lives were oriented to love and mercy come to the love and mercy of God. Those who excluded people in need from their lives have excluded themselves from God’s kingdom where there is only acceptance and love. The king mentions conditions that occur in all places and times: hungry and thirsty people, immigrants and people without clothing, sick and prisoners. The story does not use fancy words about justice and solidarity, but speaks of food, clothing, something to drink, protection from elements. It doesn’t recommend “love”, but specific actions like giving, welcoming, visiting, taking care of. What matter is not a theoretical love but compassion that helps the person in need.