“GOATS AND SHEEP”
Saint Matthew 25. 31-46
2nd Last Sunday: 17 November Anno Domini 2013
Trinity 26 Propers
Father Jay Watson SSP
In The + Name of Jesus
Your sinful nature, your “old man” is nothing but a mangy, cantankerous goat. Not a cute petting-zoo kid but a satanic baal-headed 666 beast of blasphemy. Eve followed the serpent…and so does your “Old Adam.” Cain murdered his brother…so do you with hatred, strife, resentment, and selfishness.
In the so-called ‘kingdom of the left,’ the world apart from the Lord, the world of self—your self—you in fact DO stand on the left; your sins and your sinful inner-sinner are in that line, that damned company, that demarcation of bar-sinister. Your trespasses, NOT the guy sitting to your left or right, NOT your tormentors and enemies, NOT the Muslim, Jew, Mormon or Atheist, BUT YOU deserved to be cursed, into “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels!” Following Eve and Adam, consenting to the lies of the dragon on his broad path to perdition leads to…perdition. You’ve not fed your brother with meat when he and his children were hungry. You’ve neither shared your abundance of food with the starving, nor fed them with the forgiveness of sins. You haven’t soothed the blistered and thirsty tongue or the open festering wounds of your neighbor by giving them Jesus, and His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Repent. When Christ says repent He doesn’t mean you should shrug and say: “oh well, nobody’s perfect” He means stop being selfish and love your neighbor as yourself! He means be contrite and remorseful that you are not perfect, and pray the Holy Ghost for greater fealty! You’ve neither clothed your naked neighbor with raiment and apparel (your ratty cast-offs to Goodwill don’t meet the mark set by God) nor have you covered over their trespasses and sins by forgiveness and reconciliation. You say you follow the Prince of Peace but you worship at the altar of Ares the god of war. Repent! You’ve neither helped the Christian martyr—in—will who has been stripped of his freedom by enemies of Christ, nor visited him with Jesus’ words of comfort. Repent!
But you say “I’ve been a good parishioner; I’ve read my Confessions and I’ve come to a majority of the services and given a pretty good slice of my disposable income that I haven’t needed for my other entertainment budget requirements.” Jesus says to the goat pack (yes pack, because in reality it is a pack which runs with the hell-hounds) “Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me.” Repent! Repent and believe the Gospel. Oh there is such good news this morning!
The Gospel this day, every day, for you, is that YOU ARE SHEEP and that Jesus is your Good Shepherd!
Jesus “the Son of man shall come in His glory, and the holy angles with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory”…very soon this will happen and you will see it with resurrected and glorified eyes, to be sure. But this day, right now Jesus the Son of man, born of the Virgin Mary, and the Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, is Here in His Word, in His Body and in His Blood; in His invisible but present Mercy and Absolution—JUST FOR YOU! He is here with likewise with all His invisible seraphs and cherubs, with Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel, but also with His earthly angels and family—His apostles (& their successors) His disciples (you the parish family)!
He has already separated the nations one from another. He the Good Shepherd has already culled the herd of humanity as a “shepherd divideth His sheep from the goats.” Jesus selected you to be on His right hand, the right hand of majesty, when He predestined you to eternal election before the world began! “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Jesus moved you to His right side again when He looked down upon you and your Mother at the atoning sacrifice at Calvary “Mother behold your son (and daughter); son behold your Mother.” You were placed on His right side—His righteous side when His heart was pierced for you and the fountain of forgiveness gushed over the believing world—faith worked in the Word by the Spirit claiming you as children of the Father. You inherited the first earnest of this selection when you were chosen again in Holy + Washing—the Sacrament of Baptism—marked and branded by Christ’s own right hand, right thumb tracing His crucifix both upon your forehead and upon your breast.
But you hesitate in your fallen condition and you with Peter and Esaias protest: “depart from me Lord for I am an unclean man, with unclean lips, living amidst unclean people.” But He won’t leave you; instead He opens your eyes and lips by opening your ears with His loving “I forgive you!” When you look with only the eyes of the flesh you of course will fail to see the naked you’ve clothed, the thirsty you’ve given drink, and the homeless you’ve given shelter.
Jesus speaks to you: “verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” As you have supported, prayed for, and received the gifts of Christ’s Graceful forgiveness and peace from His little ones—His pastors—you’ve done all good deeds in faith, IN CHRIST, through the Holy Ghost Who is your sanctification in action. When you receive Jesus, by faith, you receive His entire Body, not just His glorified, risen, flesh and blood, but His Body the Church—all his little ones, all his precious lambs. Christ’s good works ARE your good works, your sanctification!
You who have been absolved IN HIS NAME with His pierced, scarred, and tender right + hand are beckoned now to His high table. For here, NOW, the Son of Man, the Second Perfect Adam, appears in service and humility. He still has all power and dominion, though for a while His Church remains clothed in the Cross, still veiled in Bread and Wine. And by His Word, He THE WORD and His angels and archangels and all the host of heaven descend upon His altar throne and give you the true glory of pardon and peace. Come to life eternal.
In the Name of The Father and of + The Son and of The Holy Ghost