“I was hungry and you gave me to eat.” By doing unto others we fulfill our obligations to Jesus. CNS photo/ Karen Callaway

Our acts of mercy show our allegiance to Jesus

By 
  • May 7, 2014

When the disciples questioned Jesus about the end of the world (Matthew c. 4), Jesus described signs and portents, and then related what has since become known as the last judgment. The people of Earth are assembled and the King renders a verdict based on each person’s conduct: “I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; naked, and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me.”

Those who hear this are astonished and ask: “When, Lord, did we ever see you in these circumstances?” He answered them: “In as much as you have done this unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.”

Wonderful words — but what a challenge! In a sense the text is so clear as to need no elaboration, yet a Jesuit priest named Andrew Apostali has written a helpful book called What to do when Jesus is Hungry: A Practical Guide to the Works of Mercy, which provides practical advice on how we can carry out our Christian obligations.

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