I don’t know why sheep are preferable to goats in scripture, but it is what it is, I guess. I personally think that goats are cuter than sheep. But I digress. The basic point of today’s Lenten readings is choosing to do rather than not do. The message is pretty straightforward. Lent (and life in general) is about doing not about being. Talking a good game is not the same as playing a good game. So here I am concerned about the other and think about them a lot and that should be enough, right? I should be OK, right? You know, because I’m thinking about them? Like the old “thoughts and prayers” thing when tragedy strikes. Well thinking and doing are two separate yet connected activities. The thinking should lead to the doing. Being righteous in a belief that preaches love without practically responding to the invitation of helping the other is just a lot of hot air contributing negatively to climate change.
The phrase “America First” on the surface, sounds like a noble patriotic rallying cry, but below the surface it creates isolationism and an “us” vs “them” mentality. Myopia becomes the operative word here. That’s not who we are as human beings. If we have, we can give it away while still retaining what we actually need. I’m talking about “time.”
Then the upright will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome, lacking clothes and clothe you?
When did we find you sick or in prison and go to see you?” (Matt 25:37-39)
So that is pretty straight forward isn’t it? How this plays out is different for many of us. Maybe it’s getting involved with local volunteer organizations, or starting an original project of helping on your own. Goat or sheep. Whichever way this action takes form for us, it’s always good to have the following passage always in our sights.
Then he will answer, “In truth I tell you, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.” (Matt 25:45)
and so it goes…