"All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,"
Gathering is so inherently part of how we experience life that not being able to do so has been a painful experience this past year. We gather for so many reasons, among them to feel safe, to know that we’re not alone and that we belong somewhere. We sense the power in gathering with others, whether it’s for our own personal well-being or for the greater good of the world. The Son of Man gathers all peoples first, then regathers everybody into two categories. These new groups are gathered not according to most categories we might ourselves choose to gather, like class or ethnicity or level of education. Instead, the gathering ends up being based on whether people treat people who are suffering with compassion.
One of the big subversions here is Jesus in his glory tells the people of the world that he himself was one of those on the margins. He chooses to identify himself with those who are suffering, gathers with them and watches to see who will serve him, not because of his status or power, but out of love and compassion for those most in need of it.
That means we need to think about where our love and passion take us. What spaces do we find ourselves in? Often we gravitate to where we find our own needs and fears met and satisfied. Nothing wrong with that, necessarily. But do we go looking for others who may also be in need, or do we choose to gather in spaces where we don’t have to think about others’ needs? However much we want to be in those spaces where money and privilege shut out or exclude people who are suffering, we will end up being blind to the needs of others and miss seeing Jesus altogether.
However we choose to gather and spend our time, money, and resources will have great implications on which gathering we will ultimately be a part of at the end of time. Knowing the consequences, which kind of gathering do we choose right now?
Art: Katie Wigglesworth | "Gathering" | hand woven wool, cotton | 2021
Practice: Counter Mapping Part 2/3
Complete an ecological examen. You may choose to follow along with an Ignatian-inspired examen, or conduct your own.