Leviticus 19:1-2,11-18
Matthew 25:31-46


Nothing is surer than we learn along the way. Trials and errors, false starts, learning from our mistakes, and listening to good advice are all parts of the journey of both life in general and discipleship in particular.

The people of Israel wandered in the desert for forty years. It was one thing to receive the Ten Commandments at Sinai but another to live them out in the community and understand their implications. While the prescriptions in Leviticus are by and large phrased negatively, they are exploring what it means to live justly. Today’s reading calls us to be honest, speak the truth, and care for one another. We need to ensure people have what is rightly theirs, be just in our dealings with them, speak well of others, protect the vulnerable, live in peace, and love our neighbour as ourselves. We can see that the people of Israel are learning as they go! 

The parable of the sheep and the goats concludes Jesus’ last great discourse. When Jesus began his ministry, he told John the Baptist that it was necessary to fulfil all righteousness. As Jesus journeyed with the disciples to Jerusalem, he gradually unpacked what this means by his teachings and actions. The parable highlights that for disciples, being in the right relationship has two critical elements. The first is seeing Jesus in those who are marginalised and who are so easily passed by. The second is responding with generosity and love by doing something practical about it. 

Fr. Chris Monaghan CP, lectures in the New Testament and is President of Yarra Theological Union. He is a member of the Passionist community of Holy Cross in Templestowe.