Today I was thinking about the story of the sheep and the goats from Matthew 25.
Jesus says to the goats,
"Depart from Me, ... 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 take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me. ... inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me." ... And these will go away into everlasting punishment...
When we have the opportunity to meet Christ in the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the unclothed, the imprisoned, and the sick, but turn away, we are departing from Him all by ourselves. We don't have to wait for a final judgment at the end of time to be sent into punishment. We have already chosen our path: to not be with Christ.
To the sheep, those who meet Christ in the poor and lonely, He says,
"...inherit the kingdom prepared for you."
The inheritance starts now, in this life. We don't have to wait for the judgment at the end of time to receive our reward. Caring for the "least of these" in all its unglamorousness is participation in the kingdom of God.
Lord, have mercy on us.