The Recyclable and the Trash

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When the Emperor of God descends from heaven displaying his power, having all the angels of heaven surrounding him, then he will rule from his throne and every person on earth will be collected and will stand before His throne. He will judge them all and will divide them up as a rag picker will separate the useful from the trash. And the recyclable he will stand at his right, and the trash he will stand at his left.

The King will proclaim to the right, “I welcome you, those whom my Father speaks well of. You may now possess the Kingdom—my Kingdom—which has been made ready for you, the righteous of humanity, from the creation of the world. You are worthy of this, because of your assistance to me. I was hungry in your neighborhood, and you gave me food. I was parched, passing by your dwelling, and you offered me some water. I was an immigrant and outcast and you let me in your house for the night. I was walking around freezing, and you give me your coat. I was sick and you nursed me to health. I was in prison and you came and met my needs. You listened to me when I was lonely. You kept me safe when I was fearful. You gave me work when I was in need and paid me at the end of the day.” These righteous will answer the Emperor thus, “Our Lord, we thank you. But are you sure you are speaking of us? Did we really see you hungry and feed you? Did we see you needing a drink and gave you something? When did we see you—you of all people– an outcast and bring you into our house? When were you freezing and we gave you clothes or a blanket? And when, my Lord, when were you in prison and we had opportunity to visit you?”

And the Emperor will answer them, “Listen carefully—whatever you did it to these disciples of mine—even these lowly ones— you did the same to me.”

Then the Emperor will turn to his other side. “You will leave me, you whom the Father curses with his every breath. You will be cast into the punishment which was created for Satan and his messengers. Because I came to your town, hungry, and you told me to get a job. I came to your street, parched with thirst, and you wouldn’t talk to me. I was an immigrant, a homeless person, a mentally ill person on the street, a traveler and you refused me entrance at your doorstep. I was shivering in the cold and you passed by me, although you had closets full of coats, shelves full of extra blankets you weren’t using. I became bed-ridden and disabled and you were too busy with your own life to assist me, or even check in on me. I was in prison, through no fault of my own, and in a locked mental health facility and in the state hospital and you didn’t even write to me, let alone visit me. You cannot live with me in my kingdom, since you did not share your life with me when I was with you.”

They will respond, “But Great Lord, I’m sure you weren’t hungry or thirsty! And you couldn’t have been an outcast or freezing. You were never in our neighborhood—I would remember! And you, being sick—I don’t think so. And you would never have been in prison or a mental health hospital. And if you were, we would have been there for you, serving you, Lord!” The Emperor answers, “Listen carefully, inasmuch as you did not serve these lowly ones, you did not serve me. I was there, through my disciples, as crazy as they seemed, as insignificant as they seemed, and you didn’t let them in your life. Even so, I don’t want you in mine.” And they will leave the Lord and go to eternal punishment. But those who acted with justice lived with the Lord eternally.

Matthew 25:31-46

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