“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.
32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you visited me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40The king will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it for me.'” …
The Ultimate Test
For me, these nine verses of Matthew 25 encapsulate the essence of the mission of outreach to the disadvantaged of the Universal Christian Church. They tell us that the ultimate test of our worth as individuals and as a nation is how we treat the most vulnerable and disadvantaged of our fellow human beings.
The parable of the Good Samaritan reminds us that, however convenient it might be to do so, we cannot treat our fellow human beings as being confined, for the purpose of that test, to our fellow Australians.
Sir William Deane was a High Court Judge, and Governor-General of Australia, 1996 to 2001.