On the surface, this Gospel reading may seem a little scary. The parable of the Last Judgement signifies the importance of our humanly actions and also the finality of our salvation. Just like how a shepherd divides his sheep from his goats, we are reminded that there will be a day when Christ will come to judge and separate us all.
Even if that idea might leave us with some uneasiness or uncertainty, I think this reading embodies one of the most important messages for us as Christians. And believe it or not, that message is pretty straightforward.
In this Gospel, Jesus tells us, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”. In other words, He explains that our purpose on Earth is to love one another. We are called to be extraordinary human beings that love all people, regardless of who they are.
It can be easy to love those who love us; it’s an uncomplicated reciprocation. What this reading reminds us, though, is that we also have to love those who may not love- or even like- us. When Jesus asks us to love the least of His brothers and sisters, he truly refers to everyone. He wants us to love those we consider to be strangers, enemies, and undesirables.
Obviously, this isn’t supposed to be easy. Loving everyone is a challenge that may cause a lot of confusion or frustration. Even so, I think Jesus would argue that it’s not supposed to be an easy task. Radical, universal love involves an ongoing process: one that will take our whole lives to complete. Because of this, we have the opportunity to spread the love of Jesus Christ to every person we encounter.
Though loving one another may be difficult, it’s our one-way ticket to Heaven. Let us open our hearts to this Gospel reading’s message and embrace the challenge of loving our brothers and sisters.