Goat Boy

1425987583864-goatboy

Be honest! Do you really think about the second coming of Christ? After all, it’s been about 2,000 years, so why worry now? Maybe, we don’t think about judgment because we hate to be accountable to anyone. I sometimes wish that God would follow His own advice: don’t judge lest you be judged. God should be so loving and forgiving that he will just pass over all of our sins, passions, and mistakes.

The Bible portrays the end of all things and usually, its not a pretty picture. You only have to read the book of Revelation to find some rather disturbing images. The Church has never taught that it’ll be all warm fuzzies and bright lights, and then Jesus speaks of the last judgment and said it would be a sheep and goat kind of experience. Sheep and goats? Compare to other images about the end, this seems a bit…pastoral.

In his parable of the Judgment, the Master separates the two with the sheep on the right and the goats on the left.  Is there something, some mark or characteristic, by which he tells the difference?  Is it how pure they were in this life? No. Is by how much they prayed and fasted? No. Is it by how much they read the Bible or how well versed they were in theology? No. Is it by how often they attended Church and went to confession and communion? No. Well then, what is the distinguishing mark that divides them? It is compassion. Compassion? Oh, I wish he hadn’t of said that. Why can’t it at least be some of the other things like  how well I followed the rules, or kept the fast, or prayed, or how well I avoided gossip or conquered my lustful thoughts?

Blessed Augustine said that we should not resist the first coming of Christ so that we will not dread the second. By first coming, does he mean Nativity? No, it is when Christ comes to us in the poor, the imprisoned, the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, the depressed, the lonely, the desperate, etc.

Is compassion difficult? Not really.  It doesn’t take intelligence or wisdom to be compassionate. I don’t have to be rich or beautiful. What does it take? Heart.

“Ever let mercy outweigh all else in you. Let our compassion be a mirror where we may see in ourselves that likeness and that true image which belong to the Divine nature and Divine essence. A heart hard and unmerciful will never be pure.”   —St. Isaac of Syria

Seeing that compassion is easy for all of us to do, how then do I explain the poverty of my own compassion? When I take an honest look at my so called achievements, they aren’t so great really. Most of what I think I have accomplished  will fade into obscurity and be remembered no more. What will last in the memory of God is the mercy and compassion I have shown, or not.

At the moment, as I see it, I’m pretty much a goat boy. Yet, if I could get a sheep-like heart, it might even change every thing I do. For example, when I fast, instead of fretting over how “kosher” it is,  I can eat more simply and then take the extra money I save and support the food bank. Maybe I could empty my closet of clothes I haven’t worn in years and give them to the local mission. The possibilities are endless, if I could get a sheep’s heart.

Goat boy would rather not do any of this.  He would rather prove his love for God with piety. Of course, piety is important but the Judge said, “Forgive and you will be forgive, show mercy, and mercy will be shown to you. I was hungry and you fed me, naked and you clothed me, thirsty and you gave me water to drink.” Goat boy wishes that he would hear something like, “Good job. You didn’t eat that burger during Lent”, or “Way to go! You really nailed that prayer rule.” Of course, a heart that is “broken and humbled God will not despise.”

The last word is from the Prophet.

5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD ?

6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness a]”>[a] will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.”

The mouth of the Lord has spoken it!

2 Responses to “Goat Boy”

  1. Moses Says:

    A great post Father! Thank you for this “compassionate” reminder! =D

  2. Ksenia Says:

    I hope I will remember to think about this post tommorrow during my morning tussle with the goat, Prudence, to get a bowl of milk for the baby and I for our cereal. I was thinking this morning, “I’ll wrestle you for the milk!”, but this is more of a thumb wrestling thing, anyway, since it is a small goat.
    I hope I remember the post before I get mad at her for bucking both feet up and landing in my lap (my new pet peeve).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: