THE WEEK OF TRINITY IX – SATURDAY

LESSON: MATTHEW 25:31-46

And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:40

How will the people whom we help by means of the unrighteous mammon receive us into the eternal habitations? Will they take us by the hand and lead us in? By no means!

When we come before God’s judgement, some poor man to whom I have done good will stand up in heaven and say, “He washed my feet; he gave me drink, food, clothing, and so on.” This man will really prove himself a friend to me and a witness to attest my faith. Such a poor beggar will be more useful to me than St. Peter or St. Paul, for they will not be able to help me then. But when a poor beggar will come and say, “O God, this is what he did for me as a member of your flock,” this is going to help me, for God will say, “What you did for him, you did for Me.”

These same poor brethren will not be our helpers but our witnesses, so that God may receive us. In saying this, I do not want you to withhold due honor from St. Peter and the other saints, for the saints, too, are members of God and of Christ. But you do better in giving your neighbor a penny than you do in building a gilded church for St. Peter, for to succor the poor is something you are commanded to do, but you are not commanded to build a church for St. Peter.

Nowadays, men are prepared to do anything and everything for the saints, who are dead and beyond all assistance from us, but the poor people, whom we should really treat as a holy shrine, are left sitting or lying on the street.

SL 11:1454 (20)

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, let us never fall into the error of seeking showy works to impress our fellowmen rather than the works of love which help our needy neighbor, works truly pleasing to You, in and through our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Editor’s note: No American Edition (AE) equivalent for today’s sermon excerpt exists at the time of this publication. For an alternate English translation of this sermon, see Lenker, Church Postil—Gospels, 4:291-301.