Homilies by Rev. Andrew Collis unless indicated otherwise.
‘Love and mercy'’
Last week's homily concluded with reference to this week's Gospel. The conclusion bears repeating. The God of love calls us into a kindom of peace where the hungry are fed, the thirsty are given something to drink, strangers are made welcome, the naked are clothed, and those who are ill or imprisoned (or in any way afflicted, in any way suffering in darkness) are visited with kindness -
There's another way that Christ is present. Some theologians suggest that the scriptures, the Gospels in particular, represent or stand in for Christ. Our artwork shows the face of Christ framed/enthroned by the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Today's Gospel reading from Matthew 25 might be seen as Christ present in the six-
And yet, the text is also like Christ in its vulnerability. It's a fragile text. The marks of the thorns might be seen in at least three places -
The first point has to do with nations under judgement -
In verse 32 we read that the Ruler is seated upon the royal throne and "all the nations" are assembled below. The works of mercy are performed or not performed by nations, or so it seems. It could be that groups within the nations are lauded for their works of mercy. It could be that individuals are praised or criticised. How does it seem to you? An opportunity to involve yourself in corporate works of mercy (together, let's make a difference to the way that food is distributed, to the way that prisoners are treated in our state, in our nation) -
Perhaps the most unpleasant aspect of the text is the dualism (a feature of this kind of apocalyptic) that sees the accursed "goats" consigned to fiery judgement. It's a bit extreme, isn't it? There's more to this point of pain and promise, however. I need to hear this indictment of unmerciful human beings. There are consequences for those who fail to show mercy.
To be merciless -
The third point of pain and promise -
Let's complete the homily together. How does being religious, a follower of Jesus, a royal subject of Christ, a student of the Gospel, help you to be more merciful? … Amen.