From: Matthew 25:31-46
The Last Judgment
 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then
He will sit on His glorious throne.  Before Him will be gathered all the nations,
and He will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep
from the goats,  and He will place the sheep at His right hand, but the goats
at the left.  Then the King will say to those at His right hand, ‘Come, O bles-
sed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the
world;  for I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me
drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me,  I was naked and you clothed
Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 
Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see Thee hungry and feed
thee, or thirsty and give thee drink?  And when did we see Thee a stranger and
welcome Thee, or naked and clothe Thee?  And when did we see Thee sick or
in prison and visit Thee?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you,
as you did it to one of the least of My brethren, you did it to Me.’  Then He will
say to those at His left hand, Depart from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire pre-
pared for the devil and his angels;  for I was hungry and you gave Me no food;
I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink,  I was a stranger and you did not wel-
come Me, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not
visit Me.’  Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see Thee hungry or
thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to Thee?’
 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the
least of these, you did it not to Me.’  And they will go away into eternal punish-
ment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
31-46. The three parables (Matthew 24:42-51; 25:1-13; and 25:14-30) are comple-
ted by the announcement of a rigorous last judgment, a last act in a drama, in
which all matters of justice are resolved. Christian tradition calls it the Last Judg-
ment, to distinguish it from the “Particular Judgment” which everyone undergoes
immediately after death. The sentence pronounced at the end of time will simply
be a public, formal confirmation of that already passed on the good and the evil,
the elect and the reprobate.
31-33. In the Prophets and in the Book of Revelation the Messiah is depicted on
a throne, like a judge. This is how Jesus will come at the end of the world, to
judge the living and the dead.
The Last Judgment is a truth spelled out in the very earliest credal statements
of the Church and dogma of faith solemnly defined by Benedict XII in the Consti-
tution “Benedictus Deus” (29 January 1336).
35-46. All the various things listed in this passage (giving people food and drink,
clothing them, visiting them) become works of Christian charity when the person
doing them sees Christ in these “least” of His brethren.
Here we can see the seriousness of sins of omission. Failure to do something
which one should do means leaving Christ unattended.
“We must learn to recognize Christ when He comes out to meet us in our bro-
thers, the people around us. No human life is ever isolated. It is bound up with
other lives. No man or woman is a single verse; we all make up one divine poem
which God writes with the cooperation of our freedom” St. J. Escriva, “Christ Is
Passing By”, 111).
We will be judged on the degree and quality of our love (cf. St. John of the Cross,
“Spiritual Sentences and Maxims”, 57). Our Lord will ask us to account not only
for the evil we have done but also for the good we have omitted. We can see that
sins of omission are a very serious matter and that the basis of love of neighbor
is Christ’s presence in the least of our brothers and sisters.
St. Teresa of Avila writes: “Here the Lord asks only two things of us: love for His
Majesty and love of our neighbor. It is for these two virtues that we must strive,
and if we attain them perfectly we are doing His will [...]. The surest sign that
we are keeping these two commandments is, I think, that we should really be
loving our neighbor; for we cannot be sure if we are loving God, although we may
have good reasons for believing that we are, but we can know quite well if we
are loving our neighbor. And be certain that, the farther advanced you find you
are in this, the greater the love you will have for God; for so dearly does His Ma-
jesty love us that He will reward our love for our neighbor by increasing the love
which we bear to Himself, and that in a thousand ways: this I cannot doubt” (”In-
terior Castle”, V, 3).
This parable clearly shows that Christianity cannot be reduced to a kind of agen-
cy for “doing good”. Service of our neighbor acquires supernatural value when it
is done out of love for Christ, when we see Christ in the person in need. This is
why St. Paul asserts that “if I give away all I have...but have not love, I gain no-
thing” (1 Corinthians 13:3). Any interpretation of Jesus’ teaching on the Last
Judgment would be wide of the mark if it gave it a materialistic meaning or con-
fused mere philanthropy with genuine Christian charity.
40-45. In describing the exigencies of Christian charity which gives meaning to
“social aid”, the Second Vatican Council says: “Wishing to come to topics that
are practical and of some urgency, the Council lays stress on respect for the
human person: everyone should look upon his neighbor (without any exception)
as another self, bearing in mind, above all, his life and the means necessary for
living it in a dignified way, ‘lest he follow the example of the rich man who ignored
Lazarus, the poor man’ (cf. Luke 16:18-31).
“Today there is an inescapable duty to make ourselves the neighbor of every
man, no matter who he is, and if we meet him, to come to his aid in a positive
way, whether he is an aged person abandoned by all, a foreign worker despised
without reason, a refugee, an illegitimate child wrongly suffering for a sin he did
not commit, or a starving human being who awakens our conscience by calling
to mind the words of Christ: ‘As you did it to one of the least of these My breth-
ren, you did it to Me.’” (”Gaudium Et Spes,” 27).
46. The eternal punishment of the reprobate and the eternal reward of the elect
are a dogma of faith solemnly defined by the Magisterium of the Church in the
Fourth Lateran Council (1215): “He [Christ] will come at the end of the world; He
will judge the living and the dead; and He will reward all, both the lost and the e-
lect, according to their works. And all these will rise with their own bodies which
they now have so that they may receive according to their works, whether good
or bad; the wicked, a perpetual punishment with the devil; the good, eternal glory
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.
Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.
31. When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32. And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats:
33. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34. Then shall the King say to them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35. For I was an hungry, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in:
36. Naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.
37. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we you hungry, and fed you? Or thirsty, and gave you drink?
38. When saw we you a stranger, and took you in? or naked, and clothed you?
39. Or when saw we you sick, or in prison, and came to you?
40. And the King shall answer and say to them, Verily I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it to me.
41. Then shall he say also to them on the left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42. For I was an hungry, and you gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink:
43. I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and you visited me not.
44. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we you hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to you?
45. Then shall he answer then, saying, Verily I say to you, Inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.
RABAN. After the parables concerning the end of the world the Lord proceeds to describe the manner of the judgment to come.
CHRYS. To this most sweet section of Scripture which we cease not continually to ponder, let us now listen with all attention and compunction of spirit, for Christ does indeed clothe this discourse with more terrors and vividness. He does not accordingly say of this as of the others, The kingdom of heaven is like, but shows of Himself by direct revelation, saying, When the Son of man shall come in his majesty.
JEROME; He who was within two days to celebrate the Passover, to be delivered to the cross, and mocked by men, fitly now holds out the glory of His triumph, that He may overbalance the offenses that were to follow by the promise of reward. And it is to be noted, that He who shall be seen in majesty is the Son of Man.
AUG. The wicked and they also who shall be set on His light hand shall see Him in human shape, for He shall appear in the judgment in that form which He took on Him from us; but it shall be afterwards that He shall be seen in the form of God, for which all the believers long.
REMIG. These words overthrow the error of those who said that the Lord should not continue in the same form of a servant. By his majesty, He means His divinity, in which He is equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit.
ORIGEN; Or, He shall come again with glory, that His body may be such as when He was transfigured on the mount. His throne is either certain of the more perfect of the Saints, of whom it is written, For there are set thrones in judgment; or certain Angelic Powers of whom it is said, Thrones or dominions.
AUG. He shall come down with the Angels whom He shall call from heavenly places to hold judgment.
CHRYS. For all his Angels shall be with him to bear witness to the things wherein they have administered to men's salvation at His bidding.
AUG. Or, by Angels here He means men who shall judge with Christ; for Angels are messengers, and such we rightly understand all who have brought tidings of heavenly salvation to men.
REMIG. And all nations shall be gathered before Him. These words prove that the resurrection of men shall be real.
AUG. This gathering shall be executed by the ministry of Angels, as it is said in the Psalm, Gather to him his saints.
ORIGEN; Or, we need not understand this of a local gathering together, but that the nations shall be no more dispersed in divers and false dogmas concerning Him. For Christ's divinity shall be manifested so that not even sinners shall any longer be ignorant of Him. He shall not then show Himself as Son of God in one place and not in another; as He sought to express to us by the comparison of the lightning. So as long as the wicked know neither themselves nor Christ, or the righteous see through a glass darkly, so long the good are not severed from the evil, but when by the manifestation of the Son of God all shall come to the knowledge of Him, then shall the Savior sever the good from the evil; for then shall sinners see their sins, and the righteous shall see clearly to what end the seeds of righteousness in them have led. They that are saved are called sheep by reason of that mildness which they have learnt of Him who said, Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly, and because they are ready to go even to death in imitation of Christ, who was led as a sheep to the slaughter. The wicked, are called goats, because they climb rough and rugged rocks, and walk in dangerous places.
CHRYS. Or, He calls the one sheep and the other goats, to denote the unprofitableness of the one, and the fruitfulness of the other, for sheep are greatly productive in fleece, milk, and lambs.
GLOSS. Under the figure of a sheep in Scripture is signified simplicity and innocence. Beautifully then in this place are the elect denoted by sheep.
JEROME; Also the goat is a salacious animal, and was the offering for sins in the Law, and He says not 'she goats' which can produce young, and come up shorn from the washing.
CHRYS. Then He separates them in place.
ORIGEN; For the Saints who have wrought right works , shall receive in recompense of their right works the King's right hand, at which is rest and glory; but the wicked for their evil and sinister deeds have fallen to the left hand, that is, into the misery of torments. Then shall the King say to those who are on his right hand, Come, that in whatever they are behind they may make it up when they are more perfectly united to Christ. He adds, you blessed of my Father, to show how eminently blessed they were, being of old blessed of the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
RABAN. Or, they are called blessed, to whom an eternal blessing is due for their good deserts. He calls it the kingdom of His Father, ascribing the dominion of the kingdom to Him by whom Himself the King was begotten. For by His royal power, with which He shall be exalted alone in that day, He shall pronounce the sentence of judgment, Then shall the King say.
CHRYS. Observe that He says not 'Receive', but possess, or inherit, as due to you from of old.
JEROME; This prepared for you from the foundation of the world, is to be understood as of the foreknowledge of God, with whom things to come are as already done.
AUG. Besides that kingdom of which He will say in the end, Inherit the kingdom prepared for you, though in a very inferior manner, the present Church is also called His kingdom, in the which we are yet in conflict with the enemy until we come to that kingdom of peace, where we shall reign without an enemy.
ID. But one will say, I desire not to reign, it is enough for me that I he saved. Wherein they are deceived, first, because there is no salvation for those whose iniquity abounds; and, secondly, because if there be any difference between those that reign, and those that do not reign, yet must all be within the same kingdom, lest they be esteemed for foes or aliens, and perish while the others reign. Thus all the Romans inherit the kingdom of Rome, though all do not reign in it.
CHRYS. For what the Saints obtain the boon of this heavenly kingdom He shows when He adds, I was hungered, and you gave me to eat.
REMIG. And it is to be noted, that the Lord here enumerates six works of mercy which who shall study to accomplish shall be entitled to the kingdom prepared for the chosen from the foundation of the world.
RABAN. Mystically, He who with the bread of the word and the drink of wisdom refreshes the soul hungering and thirsting after righteousness, or admits into the home of our mother the Church him who is wandering in heresy or sin, or who strengthens the weak in faith, such an one discharges the obligations of true love.
GREG. These, to whom as they stand on His right hand the Judge at His coming shall say, I was hungered &c. are they who are judged on the side of the elect, and who reign; who wash away the stains of their life with tears; who redeem former sins by good deeds following; who, whatever unlawful thing they have at any time done, have covered it from the Judge's eyes by a cloak of alms. Others indeed there are who are not judged, yet reign, who have gone even beyond the precepts of the Law in the perfection of their virtue.
ORIGEN; It is from humility that they declare themselves unworthy of any praise for their good deeds, not that they are forgetful of what they have done. But He shows them His close sympathy with His own.
RABAN. Lord, when saw we you &c. This they say not because they distrust the Lord's words, but they are in amaze at so great exaltation, and at the greatness of their own glory; or because the good which they have done will seem to them to be so small according to that of the Apostle, For the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us.
JEROME; It were indeed free to us to understand that it is Christ in every poor man whom we feed when he is hungry, or give drink to when he is thirsty, and so of other things;
but when He says, In that you have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, He seems to me not to speak of the poor generally, but of the poor in spirit, those to whom He pointed and said, Whoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother.
CHRYS. But if they are His brethren, why does He call them the least? Because they are lowly, poor, and outcast. By these He means not only the monks who have retired to the mountains, but every believer though he should be secular, though hungered, or the like, yet He would have him obtain merciful succors, for baptism and communication of the Divine mysteries makes him a brother.
ORIGEN; As He had said to the righteous, Come you, so He says to the wicked, Depart you, for they who keep God's commandment are near to the Word, and are called that they may be made more near; but they are far from it, though they may seem to stand hard by, who do not His commands ; therefore it is said to them, Depart you, that those who seemed to be living before Him, might be no more seen. It should be remarked, that though He had said to the Saints, you blessed of my Father, He says not now, You cursed of my Father, because of all blessing the Father is the author, but each man is the origin of his own curse when he does the things that deserve the curse. They who depart from Jesus fall into eternal fire, which is of a very different kind from that fire which we use. For no fire which we have is eternal, nor even of any long continuance. And note, that He does not say, 'the kingdom prepared for the Angels,' as He does say everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his Angels; because He did not, as far as in Him lay, create men to perdition, but sinners yoke themselves to the Devil, so that as they that are saved are made equal to the holy Angels, they that perish are made equal with the Devil's Angels.
AUG. It is hence clear, that the same fire will be appropriated to the punishment of men and of demons. If then it inflicts pain by corporeal touch, so as to produce bodily torment, how will there be in it any punishment for the evil spirits, unless the demons have, as some have thought, bodies composed of gross and fluid air. But if any man asserts that the demons have no bodies, we would not pugnaciously contend the point. For why may we not say, that truly, though wonderfully, even incorporeal spirit can feel pain of corporeal fire? If the spirits of men, though themselves incorporeal, can be now enclosed in bodily limbs, they can then be inseparably attached to the bonds of body. The demons then will be united to a body of material fire, though themselves immaterial, drawing punishment from their body, not giving life to it. And that fire being material will torture such bodies as ours with their spirits; but the demons are spirits without bodies.
ORIGEN; Or it may be that fire is of such nature that it can burn invisible substances, being itself invisible, as the Apostle speaks, The things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal? Wonder not when you hear that there is a fire which though unseen has power to torture, when you see that there is an internal fever which comes upon men, and pains them grievously. It follows, I was hungry, and you gave me no meat.
It is written to the believers, You are the body of Christ. As then the soul dwelling in the body, though it hungers not in respect of its spiritual substance, yet hungers for the food of the body, because it is yoked to the body; so the Savior suffers whatever His body the Church suffers, though He Himself be impassable. And observe how in speaking to the righteous He reckons up their good deeds under their several kinds, but to the unrighteous He cuts short the description under the one head, I was sick and in prison, and you visited me not, because it was the part of a merciful Judge to enlarge and dwell upon men's good deeds, but to pass lightly and cursorily over their evil deeds.
CHRYS. Observe how they had failed in mercifulness, not in one or; two respects only, but in all; not only did they not feed Him when He was hungry, but they did not even visit Him when He was sick, which was easier. And look how light things He enjoins; He said not, I was in prison, and you did not set me free, but, and you visited me not. Also His hunger required no costly dainties, but necessary food. Each of these counts then is enough for their punishment. First, the slightness of His prayer, viz. for bread; secondly, the destitution of Him who sought it, for He was poor; thirdly, the natural feelings of compassion, for He was a man; fourthly, the expectation of His promise, for He promised a kingdom; fifthly, the greatness of Him who received, for it is God who receives in the poor man; sixthly, the preeminent honor, in that He condescended to take of men; and seventhly, the righteousness of so bestowing it, for what He takes from us is our own. But avarice blinds men to all these considerations.
GREG. They to whom this is said are the wicked believers, who are judged and perish; others, being unbelievers, are not judged and perish; for there is no examination of the condition of such as appear before the face of an impartial Judge already condemned by their unbelief; but those who hold the profession of the faith, but have not the works of their profession, are convicted that they may be condemned. These at least hear the words of their Judge, because they have at least kept the words of His faith. The others hear no words of their Judge pronouncing sentence of condemnation, because they have not paid Him honor even in word. For a prince who governs an earthly kingdom punishes after a different manner the rebellion of a subject and the hostile attempts of an enemy; in the former case, he recurs to his prerogative; against an enemy he takes arms, and does not ask what penalty the law attaches to his crime.
CHRYS. Thus convicted by the words of the Judge, they make answer submissively, Lord, when saw we you &c.
ORIGEN; Mark how the righteous dwell upon each word, while the unrighteous answer summarily, and not going through the particular instances; for so it becomes the righteous out of humility to disclaim each individual generous action, when imputed to them publicly; whereas bad men excuse their sins, and endeavor to prove them few and venial. And Christ's answer conveys this. And to the righteous He says, In that you did it to my brethren, to show the greatness of their good deeds; to the sinners He says only, to one of the least of these, not aggravating their sin. For they are truly His brethren who are perfect; and a deed of mercy shown to the more holy is more acceptable to God than one shown to the less holy; and the sin of overlooking the less holy is less than of overlooking the more holy.
AUG. He is now treating of the last judgment, when Christ shall come from heaven to judge the quick and dead. This day of the Divine judgment we call the Last Day, that is, the end of time; for we cannot tell through how many days that judgment will be prolonged; but day, as is the use of holy Scripture, is put for time. And we therefore call it the last or latest judgment, because He both now judges and has judged from the beginning of the human race, when He thrust forth the first man from the tree of life, and spared not the Angels that sinned. But in that final judgment both men and Angels shall be judged together, when the Divine power shall bring each man's good and evil deeds in review before his memory, and one intuitive glance shall present them to the perception, so that at once we shall be condemned or acquitted in our consciences.
46. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
AUG. Some deceive themselves, saying, that the fire indeed is called everlasting, but not the punishment. This the Lord foreseeing, sums up His sentence in these words.
ORIGEN; Observe that whereas He put first the invitation, Come, you blessed, and after that, Depart, you cursed, because it is the property of a merciful God to record the good deeds of the good, before the bad deeds of the bad; He now reverses the order, describing first the punishment of the wicked, and then the life of the good, that the terrors of the one may deter us from evil, and the honor of the other incite us to good.
GREG. If he who has not given to others is visited with so heavy a punishment, what shall he get who is convicted of having robbed others of their own.
AUG. Eternal life is our chief good, and the end of the city of God, of which the Apostle speaks, And the end everlasting life. But because eternal life might be understood by those who are not well versed in Holy Scripture, to mean also the life of the wicked because of the immortality of their souls, or because of the endless torments of the wicked; therefore we must call the end of this City in which the chief good shall be attained, either peace in life eternal, or life eternal in peace, that it may be intelligible to all.
ID. That which the Lord spoke to His servant Moses, I am that I am, this we shall contemplate when we shall live in eternity. For thus the Lord speaks This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God. This contemplation is promised to us as the end of all action, and the eternal perfection of our joys, of which John speaks, We shall see him as he is.
JEROME; Let the thoughtful reader observe that punishments are eternal, and that that continuing life has thenceforward no fear of fall.
GREG. They say that He held out empty terrors to deter them from sin. We answer, if He threatened falsely to check unrighteousness, then He promised falsely to promote good conduct. Thus while they go out of the way to prove God merciful, they are not afraid to charge Him with fraud. But, they urge, finite sin ought not to be visited with infinite punishment; we answer, that this argument would be just, if the righteous Judge considered men's actions, and not their hearts. Therefore it belongs to the righteousness of an impartial Judge, that those whose heart would never be without sin in this life, should never be without punishment.
AUG. And the justice of no law is concerned to provide that the duration of each man's punishment should be the same with the sin which drew that punishment upon him. There never was any man, who held that the torment of him, who committed a murder or adultery, should be compressed within the same space of time as the commission of the act. And when for any enormous crime a man is punished with death, does the law estimate his punishment by the delay that takes place in putting him to death, and not rather by this, that they remove him for ever from the society of the living? And fines, disgrace, exile, slavery, when they are inflicted without any hopes of mercy, do they not seem like eternal punishments in proportion to the length of this life? They are only therefore not eternal, because the life which suffers them is not itself eternal. But they say, flow then is that true which Christ says, With what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again, if temporal sin is punished with eternal pain? They do not observe that this is said with a view, not to the equality of the period of time, but of the retribution of evil, i.e. that he that has done evil should suffer evil. Man was made worthy of everlasting evil, because he destroyed in himself that good which might have eternal.
GREG. But they say, no just man takes pleasure in cruelties, and the guilty servant was scourged to correct his fault. But when the wicked are given over to hell fire, to what purpose shall they burn there for ever? We reply, that Almighty God, seeing He is good, does not delight in the torments of the wretched; but forasmuch as He is righteous, He ceases not from taking vengeance on the wicked; yet do the wicked burn not without some purpose, namely, that the righteous may acknowledge how they are debtors for eternity to Divine grace, when they see the wicked suffering for eternity misery, which themselves have escaped only by the assistance of that Divine grace.
AUG. But, they assert, nobody can be at once capable of suffering pain, and incapable of death. It must be that one live in pain, but it need not be that pain kill him; for not even these mortal bodies die from every pain; but the reason that some pain causes their death is, that the connection between the soul and our present body is such that it gives way to extreme pain. But then the soul shall be united to such a body, and in such a way, that no pain shall be able to overcome the connection. There will not then be no death, but an everlasting death, the soul being unable to live, as being without God, and equally unable to rid itself of the pains of body by dying. Among these impugners of the eternity of punishment,
ORIGEN is the most merciful, who believed that the Devil himself and his Angels, after sufferings proportioned to their deserts, and a long endurance, should be delivered from those torments, and associated with the holy Angels. But for these and other things he was not undeservedly rebuked by the Church, because even his seeming mercy was thrown away, making for the saints real pains in which their sins were to be expiated, and fictitious blessedness, if the joys of the good were not to be secure and endless. In quite another way does the mercy of others err through their humane sympathies, who think that the sufferings of those men who are condemned by this sentence will be temporal, but that the happiness of those who are set free sooner or later will be eternal. Why does their charity extend to the whole race of man, but dries up when they come to the angelic race?
GREG. But they say, How can they be called Saints, if they shall not pray for their enemies whom they see shell burning? They do not indeed pray for their enemies, so long as there is any possibility of converting their hearts to a profitable penitence, but how shall they pray for them when any change from their wickedness is no longer possible?
AUG. So some there are who hold out liberation from punishment not to all men, but to those only who have been washed in Christ's Baptism, and have been partakers of His Body, let them have lived as they will; because of that which the Lord speaks, If any man eat of this bread, he shall not die eternally. Again, others promise this not to all who have Christ's sacrament, but to Catholics only, however in their lives, who have eaten Christ's Body, not in sacrament only, but in verity, (inasmuch as they are set in the Church, which is His Body,) even though they should afterwards have fallen into heresy or idolatry of the Gentiles. And others again, because of what is written above, He that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved, promise this only to those who persevere in the Catholic Church, that by the worthiness of their foundation, that is, of their faith, they shall be saved by fire. All these the Apostle opposes when he says, The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, uncleanness, fornication, and the like; of which I tell you before, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Whoever in his heart prefers temporal things to Christ, Christ is not his foundation, though he seem to have the faith of Christ. How much more then is he, who has committed things unlawful, convicted of not preferring Christ, but preferring other things to Him? I have also met with some who thought that only those would burn in eternal torments who neglected to give alms proportioned to their sins; and for this reason they think that the Judge Himself here mentions nothing else that He shall make inquiry of, but of the giving or not giving alms. But whoever gives alms worthily for his sins, first begins with himself; for it were unmeet that he should not do that to himself which he does to others when he has heard the words of God, You shall love your neighbor as yourself, and hears likewise, Be merciful to your soul in pleasing God? He then who does not to his own soul this alms of pleasing God, how can he be said to give alms meet for his sins? Why we are to give alms then is only that when we pray for mercy for sins past, we may be heard; not that we may purchase thereby license for continuing in sin. And the Lord forewarns us that He will put alms done on the right hand, and on the left alms not done, to show us how mighty are alms to do away former sins, not to give impunity to a continuance in sin.
ORIGEN; Or, It is not one kind of righteousness only that is rewarded, as many think. In whatsoever matters any one does Christ's commands, he gives Christ meat and drink, Who feeds ever upon the truth and righteousness of His faithful people. So do we weave raiment for Christ when cold, when taking wisdom's web, we inculcate upon others, and put upon them bowels of mercy. Also when we make ready with divers virtues our heart for receiving Him, or those who are His, we take Him in a stranger into the home of our bosom. Also when we visit a brother sick either in faith or in good works, with doctrine, reproof, or comfort, we visit Christ Himself. Moreover, all that is here, is the prison of Christ, and of them that are His, who live in this world, as though chained in the prison of natural necessity. When we do a good work to these, we visit them in prison, and Christ in them.
Catena Aurea Matthew 25