WHAT THE SPIRIT NEEDS IN ORDER TO BE SAVED. THE PARABLE OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN
1. When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
Then shall the King say unto them on the right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me. I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer Him saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me.
Then shall He say also unto them on the left hands, Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for l was hungered and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink. I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked and ye clothed me not: sick and in prison, and ye visited me not.
Then shall they also answer Him saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison and did not minister unto thee? Then shall He answer them saying, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal (Matthew, 25: 31-46).
2. And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tempted Him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? How readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy strength and with all thy mind: and thy neighbour as thyself And He said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
But he, willing to justify himself said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jesuralem to Jericho and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment and wounded him and departed, leaving him half dead, and by chance there came down a certain priest that way; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side, and likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine and set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence and gave them to the host and said unto him, take care of him and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again I will repay thee.
Which now of these thinkest thou was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise (Luke, 10: 25-37).
3. All the moral teaching of Christ resumes itself in the need for charity and humility, that is to say, in the two virtues which are contrary to selfishness and pride. In all of His teaching Jesus indicates these two virtues as being the ones which lead to eternal happiness. He said that the poor in spirit, that is to say the humble, were blessed because the Kingdom of Heaven would be theirs: Blessed are those who have pure hearts; Blessed are the gentle and the peacemakers; Blessed are the merciful. He also taught the need to love one's neighbour as oneself, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, to love our enemies, to forgive all offences if we wish to receive forgiveness, to do good without ostentation and to judge ourselves before we judge others. So then charity and humility are the two things which Jesus never ceased to recommend and for which He stands as an example. He also never ceased to combat pride and selfishness. Nor did He limit Himself to the mere recommending of charity, but put it in very clear and explicit terms as being the only condition for future happiness.
With respect to the description given by Jesus of the Final Judgement, we must separate, as in many other cases, that which is only form or allegory. The people to whom Jesus spoke, being still unable to understand totally spiritual questions, made it necessary for Him to offer them material images which would both shock and impress. Therefore in order for them to better understand what was being said to them, Jesus was obliged to keep closely to the form of the ideas of those times, always reserving for the future the real interpretation of His words and the points which at that time were unable to be clearly explained. But alongside the accessory or figurative parts of this explanation, there is one dominant feature: that of the happiness reserved for the just and the unhappiness awaiting those who are evil.
What then are the considerations of sentence according to that supreme judgement? On what has the indictment been based? Does the judge perhaps ask if the person under interrogation has fulfilled this or that formality, if they have more or less observed this or that external practice? No, he will ask but one question: if charity has been practised; and then make the pronouncement: "Go to the right all who have helped their brothers and sisters. Go to the left all those who have been unyielding." Is it said, by any chance, what is the orthodoxy of their faith? Is any distinction made between those who believe in this or that manner? No, because Jesus places the Samaritan, considered by some to be a heretic, who practised love towards his fellow creature above any orthodoxy which lacks charity. So do not consider charity to be merely one of the conditions for salvation. But instead, consider it to be the only condition. If there were others to be met, then Jesus would have mentioned them. Since He put charity in first place, it is because it implicitly embraces all the other virtues such as humility, kindness, benevolence, indulgence, justice, etc., and also because it is the absolute negation of pride and selfishness.