A lovely homily from St. Bernadette Worship Space, er, Parish in Maryland, via Novus Ordo Watch:
Christ the King November 27, 2005
WHAT'S WRONG WITH GOATS?
I always wondered what was wrong with goats.
Why are they depicted as the bad guys?
I guess we just like the looks and disposition of sheep better.
But in the end, there is really nothing wrong with goats is there?
Not any more than any other stinky animal, sheep included.
But I guess the more important question is: What's this about two groups or people?
"Does Jesus really mean to divide us all into two groups?"
Let me say right from the start, No, Jesus does not divide us into two groups. He came to make us all one group.
Let me back up.
There are two kinds of people in this world.
There are those who divide the world into two kinds of people and those who do not.
What are those two divisions? The ins and the outs. Or the sheep and the goats.
You are in if you are with me.
You are out if you are against me.
There are all kinds of examples: sinners and saints, poor and rich, democrats and republicans, hungry and full, thirsty and satisfied, clothed and naked, sick and well.
NO LONGER TWO
St. Paul in many places makes the point that we are no longer divided.
There is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, woman or man. All of you are one in Christ.
For St. Paul being a disciple of Christ means living without distinctions between groups of people.
Usually in our divisions one group is up and the other down; one group is in and the other out.
We keep ourselves safe by banding together against the outsiders.
Jesus came to end all that by becoming the outsider. He let himself be declared a criminal and executed.
St. Paul puts it this way, "For our sake his who knew no sin became sin that we might be made right with God."
The most basic division in our world is between sinners and those who don't think they are sinners.
God let Jesus be declared a sinner in order to show that God does not believe in divisions such as saints and sinners.
Jesus came to put a stop to our habit of dividing the world in two.
Today's gospel is the perfect example: Here the world is divided in two: sheep and
goats. We don't think any more about it. It makes sense to us. Unfortunately we don't delve into the message very far.
Look at the division and the characterization of who Jesus wants us to be.
Jesus' disciples are those who feed the hungry, clothe the naked, show compassion to those in prison, etc.
In other words these are the people who care about those who are on the outs.
The disciples are sheep who care about the goats. That's what it means to be a sheep.
Now how do you think all those bleeding heart sheep are going to feel to see all those goats that they care about left behind at the end during the judgment?
Jesus the good shepherd who goes out to search for the one lost sheep, who forgives the adulterous woman, who forgave the repentant thief, and forgave those who murdered him 5would at the end of the world will send someone to everlasting punishment?
How could he leave anyone out?
This is our God. The God who desires that all be one.
For a disciple there can be no divisions. There is no you versus me, me versus them, it is only us.
And we are one.
The problem is that we have not understood the message, nor have we believed it.
It threatens our competitive spirit.
We and the world need to mature. And we do that by taking care of each other.
Some day the world will not be divided in two.
Some day it will be one.
Are you guys as edified as I am!?