‘Tis the season for mashed potatoes, pie, trimming the tree and really, really tough parables from Jesus. Nothing says, “Happy Holy-days” like “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” The parable for this Sunday is no exception.
In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus offers a parable about the end times when the Son of Man comes in glory and gathers all people before the throne of judgment. Some are blessed and others accursed. Whether they are blessed or accursed is based solely on their response to those in need. Because, it turns out, the one in need was really Jesus all along! As Jesus famously says, “just as you did it to one of the least of these…you did it to me” (v. 40). Tough enough? I hear this and wonder what heroic acts of service I can do to get on the blessed side!
But one thing that has always fascinated me about this parable is that both the blessed and accursed are flabbergasted they had encountered Jesus. They had no idea that when “the least of these” approached them Jesus was there. I suppose that makes sense when it comes to the accursed but it speaks volumes about the blessed as well. The blessed were not going out in search of Jesus, wanting to find him and “do good.” They were just living their lives, every day, in the grace of God.
As tough as it is, I don’t think this parable is a call to superhero acts of service. I do think it’s a call to live in God’s grace expecting Jesus to show up and to show up in our neighbor.
Perhaps that’s the best way to celebrate these Holy-days. Not just hoping, but expecting Jesus to show up every single day in and through those God places in our path.
Oh, and a little pie wouldn’t hurt…
See you Sunday!