Menu Close

The Least of These

“What must I do to be saved?” It’s a question that Jesus addressed many times, but the problem is that he gave many different answers. Some of them (like his long talk with Nicodemus in John 3, for example) will appeal to those who would like to emphasize the primacy of Faith, who then have the problem of “explaining” the answers that don’t quite fit their theological framework. Others, like this account of the sheeps and the goats on Judgment Day, will appeal more to those who see the teachings of Jesus and mission of the Church as primarily moral: as forces for encouraging and enabling better behavior.

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis dealt with the variety of answers from the Gospels and the other New Testament writings by combining them into one generalized recipe: a cup of faith and a pound of good works, topped off with a generous dollop of sacraments. His answer is certainly balanced, but I wonder if it’s the best way to deal with such multiplicities.

In any case, it’s not the way of the Wineskin Project. For us, what we read in the raw text from week to week is Gospel Truth – for that week. And so, for this week – and maybe only this week – the way to salvation is solely and wholly dependent on how we treat “the least of these”: the poor, the sick, the imprisoned. Those who treat them well will find eternal life. Those who do not will “go away” into everlasting punishment.

It’s that simple.