Goat Boy

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Be honest! Do you really think about the second coming? After all, it’s been about 2,000 years, so why worry now? I don’t like thinking about judgment because I hate to be accountable to anyone. I wish 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 it. Most people today seem to believe that when you die, you just walk into the warm light and all is well. Did anyone see the movie “Ghost?”

When you consider how fearfully the Bible portrays the end of all things,  it might do us good to consider what it will be like when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Certainly, the Church doesn’t teach that it’ll be all warm fuzzies and bright lights. The Lord said it would be a sheep and goat kind of experience. What does that mean and what’s the difference between sheep and goats anyway?

I looked it up and you can tell them apart by outward appearance. Sheep say “baa” and goats say “maa.” Sheep have 54 chromosomes and goats have 60. Goats have a beard and divided upper lip, which sheep do not have. Sheep tails also hang down, even when short or docked, while the tails of goats are held upwards. Fascinating, isn’t it? But really, why do the goats get all the bad stuff?

In his parable of the Judgment, he separates the two and gives us the distinguishing mark that divides them – compassion. Compassion? Oh, I wish he hadn’t of said that. Why can’t it be something else like how well I followed the rules, or kept the fast, or prayed, or how well I avoided gossip or turned from lustful thoughts?

Blessed Augustine said that we should not resist the first coming so that we will not dread the second. By first coming, does he mean when Christ comes to us in the poor, the imprisoned, the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, etc. The measure of judgment will not be how well we kept the rules, but how much compassion we had and how that compassion was expressed.

Considering the poverty of my compassion, I must be a goat boy then. This goat boy would like to ask-is this a fair way to judge? After all, I’ve been doing religious work for over 40 years. I’ve learned to do the services, I go to confession. I’ve prayed and fasted and stood in 3 hour vigils. Shouldn’t I be judged on my many achievements and compliments and sacrifices?

When I take an honest look at my so called achievements, they aren’t so great really. Most of what I’ve accomplished happened because I had a lot of people who loved me enough to help me succeed. Anything that I ever did by myself amounted to little.

Actually, I’m glad that I won’t be judged on how well I keep the spiritual disciplines. I make a lot of excuses. Yet absolutely everyone can exercise compassion and show mercy. It doesn’t take training, or intelligence, or wealth or beauty. It just takes heart.

If I could get a sheep-like heart, it might even change how I see fasting. I can eat more simply, but take the extra money 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.

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.”

Isaiah agreed with the Lord(no surprise). In chapter 58, he says.

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.

Sigh! Ok, goat boy understands. It’s time to say “baaaaaa” instead of “maaaa.”

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).

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