“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Matthew 25: 34-46
We are all God’s children, not just Catholics or Christians, but all humans, everywhere. We are one human family, children of God and brothers and sisters to each other. When there is suffering in one part of the human family, the whole family is affected. When we contribute to that suffering we in effect are hurting ourselves.
We have seen the good effect of global solidarity in the defeat of communism, in the aid and support for the tsunami victims and awareness concerts for economic relief for African nations. These actions have helped our suffering brothers and sisters, but we have also seen the disasters in our failure to act globally to relieve the suffering of others. We have witnessed and continue to witness genocides in many parts of the world, the abject poverty in third-world nations, the torture and confinements by oppressive dictatorships, the lack of access to clean water, food, healthcare, education and opportunity by people around the world. What are we to do about these and other conditions that take away the rights and dignity of humans?
“God intended the earth and all it contains for the use of everyone and all peoples, so that the good things of creation should be available equally to all.”* We need to think globally, that the sufferings of people in other countries are our sufferings too. As humans, members of the same family, children of the same God, we need to identify with their suffering and see that as they are diminished, so are we. We are called to speak out for those who cannot, fight against all that diminishes our basic human dignity, and takes away our basic rights and denies justice to us all. We are called to share the resources and wealth of the world with all.
For as one suffers, so do we all