As the Passion approaches, Christ assembles the Apostles outside of Jerusalem on the nearby Mount of Olives and gives His Olivet Discourse (Matt 24-25), revealing future calamities, the Second Coming of Christ and the Judgment. With His Passion only a few days away, Christ warns the disciples of mankind’s coming trials and the need for men to be well-prepared for the coming Judgment.

In the Parable of the Sheep and Goats, Christ confirms the reality of the Kingdom of Heaven, Hell and each soul’s eternal Judgment.  Christ reigns authoritatively (seated on a throne) as the glorious King of the Kingdom of Heaven, a place of great honor (the “right hand” in ancient cultures was a place of the good and honorable), surrounded by angels since the foundation of the world. Christ confirms that Hell, a place of dishonor and punishment (the “left hand” represented evil and dishonor) is a place of eternal fire, prepared for the rebellious dark angel Satan, his demons and the souls of the evil.  Christ will judge the nations and all men at the end of time, drawing some (the sheep, the right hand) to the blessings of the Father in Heaven and banishing others (goats, the left hand) to the curses of Satan in the eternal fire.

Christ perfectly loves and personally identifies with His disciples (“brothers of mine”) and the suffering (“the least”). Christ mysteriously knows who cares for those who suffer and those who abuse and neglect the suffering. Christ gives very specific examples of merciful acts that He calls men to perform: to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to welcome the stranger, to clothe the naked, to comfort the sick and to visit the imprisoned (The Corporal Works of Mercy include these and add bury the dead).

1) The Perfect Leader, Christ gives explicit expectations, defines the Judgment and clearly describes the consequences for men’s choices. Give thanks for Christ’s willingness to give men clear counsel about their salvation.

2) Based on Christ’s teaching, the Church has traditionally taught men about the Last Four Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. During these early days of Lent, review the Church’s teaching on the Four Last Things (CCC 1006-1060) and pray for Christ to help you long for Heaven and continue to grow towards sainthood.

3) Christ makes it very clear that He requires men to perform works of mercy.  During Lent, grow in your understanding of the Works of Mercy (CCC 2447) and pray for Christ to help you sacrifice for others.