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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Lenten reflection, day 6

Matthew’s Gospel was written for a Church whose members were primarily Jewish. They believed they were going to be judged by God according to how well they lived the Torah. For the sake of simplicity, the Torah can be defined as Jewish law and Scripture. 

Matthew’s Jesus is the new Torah. In other words, Jesus is reinterpreting Torah for all people. Today’s Gospel reveals to the Gentiles how they will be judged since they were not circumcised and did not practice Torah.

This was an early Church problem: how would Jews and Gentiles be judged if both lived according to different traditions? Matthew reveals that the Gentiles will be judged by the way they help one another.

Today’s Gospel also talks about separating goats and sheep—a common practice for shepherds. During the day the shepherd would allow the sheep and goats to mix, but at night he would separate them. The goats needed a warm place to sleep, but the sheep were fine with the open air.

Since most of us are Gentiles, let us recommit ourselves to helping people in need.

Father James McCabe, C.Ss.R.
Bethpage, N.Y.

Scripture readings for today: Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18; Psalm 19; Matthew 25:31-46