THE SERVANT GENERAL
THEME FOR 2012
THE LEAST OF OUR BRETHREN
Today’s reading: Matthew 25:31-46
To choose life is to live life, defend life, and promote life.
To promote life, among other things, is to do the work of
re-evangelization and work with the poor.
In today’s reading Jesus teaches us about judgment at
the end of time. In this instance, there is one criterion
on whether we go to heaven or to hell, and that is what we
do for the least of our brethren.
The contrast in judgment is stark.
by the Father
the eternal fire prepared for the devil
of us of course would choose to be with the goats. But there
are some who might be surprised at the last judgment. This
is what happened to those grouped on the left.
What God expects of us is to serve the poor. When we do so,
we serve Jesus himself. “Amen, I say to you, whatever
you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for
me.” (Mt 25:40b). And if we do not, then we in effect
have also rejected Jesus. “Amen, I say to you, what
you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do
for me.” (Mt 25:45).
Who are the poor? There are the materially poor and the spiritually
The materially poor are those who do not have enough to eat,
those who have no standing in society, those who have inadequate
clothing, those who are sick and those who are in prison.
We are called to care for them. We are to feed the hungry,
give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the
naked, care for the ill, and visit those in prison. These
are the so-called corporal works of mercy.
At the same time, we are also to look at spiritual poverty
and help address that. This is through our work of re-evangelization
and then providing continuing pastoral support in community.
Who are the spiritually poor, of whom there are many even
among so-called Christians?
The hungry. Those who do not partake of the Eucharist and
the word of God.
thirsty. Those whose lives are parched and do not drink
of the Spirit.
stranger. Those who are not in the community of God’s
people and do not experience the fellowship of the brethren.
naked. Those who are not clothed in righteousness or not
properly attired for the Master’s feast.
ill. Those who do not experience the fullness of a bountiful
spiritual life or have not experienced the healing touch
of the Great Physician.
in prison. Those in bondage to the world, the flesh and
In fact, spiritual poverty is even more dire than material
poverty. One may not have the things of the world, but if
one has an intimate personal relationship with Jesus, then
one is truly rich. On the other hand, one may have everything
he wants of the material life, and then more, but if he loses
his soul, then that would be the greatest tragedy.
We choose life. Thus we evangelize and do our work with the
poor. As such, may we bring many more people to Christ for
them to experience the fullness of life in him, both materially
and spiritually. In doing so, at the final judgment, may we
not be among those who “will go off to eternal punishment”
but among “the righteous to eternal life.” (Mt