Where and when is the kingdom of God? It is where and when God is in charge and everyone else is equal, allowed to pursue Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, where this pursuit implies a reasonable chance of success.
Matthew 25:31-46 is the Address to the Nations. It is not to individuals, but to nations, people who are born together by a common heritage, if not by blood or place of birth. In that passage, Jesus says God will separate the sheep from the goats. What separates sheep from goats?
“Those who did not communicate of their own possessions to them that were in need should be punished, not merely by the loss of blessings, but by being also sent to hell-fire. What just reason can there be in this? They that have done well shall enjoy those good things that are in heaven, but they, who, though they have no evil to be charged with, yet have omitted to do well, will be hurried away with them that have done evil into hell-fire. St. John of Chrysostom, Homily 16, Ephesians 4: 31-32
Goats are guilty of nothing, but they fall short of God’s kingdom. They don’t violate God’s will, but they do not follow it either. Goats are natural browsers, preferring to eat leaves, twigs, vines, and shrubs. Goats like to eat the tops of plants. Sheep are grazers, preferring to eat short, tender grasses and clover. Their dietary preference is broadleaf weeds. Goats are naturally curious and independent. Sheep have a stronger flocking instinct and become very agitated if separated from the rest of the flock.”
Sheep are communal and share. Goats do not share. St. John tells us that grazing, getting our own is not enough. The Kingdom of God, the Christian Nation, is one where we make sure all get their fair share. If we do not make sure the hungry are fed, clothed, housed, provided healthcare, and transportation, ours is not a Christian Nation, and God will judge us.
“The advent of the Son comes alike to all but is for the purpose of judging and separating the believing from the unbelieving. Those who believe do His will agreeably…” St. Irenaeus, “Against Heresies Book 5: Chapter 27.
Seek the NAME, all you humble of the earth, who name what is upon his lips; seek Tsaddik, seek humility; perhaps you may be sheltered on the day of the LORD’s anger. First Reading for the Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time
“It is not those who hear Torah who are Tsaddik in the sight of God; rather, those who make Torah will be Hit Tsaddik. When the Ethnics who do not have Torah by nature make the prescriptions of Torah, they are a Torah for themselves even though they do not have Torah. They show that the demands of Torah are written in their hearts.” Romans 2:13-15
Tsaddik means both charity and justice. Hit Tsaddik is a reflexive form of Tsaddik. It means to be made charitable, or just. It is not those who hear Torah on Sunday or are made charitable. It is those doing charity/justice if they come to Mass or not.
Zephaniah in the original Hebrew translates, “The remnant of those who struggle with God will not make perversion.” What is a perversion? The words come from, “per- “away” and vertere “to turn.” The Hebrew, ַוְלָה traces its lineage from a word meaning simply, bent.
Perversion comes from Eternal Law, and Divine Law, the Aristotelean notion that all is becoming what it already is. Eternal Law tells us that we must help everything become what it already is. Sitting on the sideline and watching as the sheep devour the field and then allowing them to starve is perversion. When he sees overgrazing, the good shepherd moves the sheep to another field. When a Christian nation sees people starving, they help them find their calling, their profession, and the way God wants them to profess who they are. When we see overgrazing, people starving, as a nation, we help them find the food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, and transportation they need.
Natural Law is Eternal Law when applied to humans. Our world has four causes. The Formal Cause is the form within us that makes us human. God made us in his image, and that makes us living, thinking, caring beings. The Efficient Cause is the Spirit of God within us. The Material Cause is our bodies. The Final Cause is God, our final end. To try to make humans something they are not perverts their formal cause and this is evil.
“Go where the jobs are,” is our motto, and if the person does not fit the job, make the square peg fit the round hole. This is perversion. Average teachers complain that students don’t learn the way we teach. Excellent teachers say that they teach the way students learn. The first group does not look to the Formal Cause within the student. They violate Natural Law to make students, the round pegs, fit into square holes. Excellent teachers, look to find the Formal Cause within students. They keep the Natural Law. Leaders (Public and in private enterprise) are teachers in a different label. They teach people what they need to do to get adequate food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, and transportation.
The Hebrew Shema, Jesus’ Great Commandment, is “Hear Israel, God is Almighty, God is One. You will have loved God with all of your hearts, (In Hebrew “hearts” is plural, and “your” is singular) with all of your animate being, and with all of your measure.” Why is “Hearts,” plural? As Freud said, we each have multiple inclinations, which of themselves are neither good nor bad. When these instincts are misdirected, perverted, the person is sick. In Hebrew and Greek, one of the words for evil simply means to be sick. The person is perverted from his natural course. Natural Law demands that we help all people become who they are as children of God.
The Hebrew word, “Ray Oh,” means a sheep, the shepherd, and a friend. There is no deceit/fraud in their mouths. Grass covers the entire field. There is plenty for all. There is no need to bend others, to turn others from their full development. All are Tsaddik, charitable, and humble, free from the need for pride. The kingdom of heaven is any place where all strive to help each other become all they can be. In the kingdom of heaven, all have plenty of food, clothing, shelter, transportation, healthcare, and the like because all strive to replace the discrepancy when they do not. This is not some world in the future, or some ethereal place. It can be in the here and now, if we strive to make it that way. If not, God has some nasty plans for the goats.