Spring Cleaning: Give Your Unneeded Clothes to Christ

The Lord Jesus tells us a parable to describe Judgment Day.  The first half of the parable (Matthew 25:31-40) says:

“When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’

St. John Chrysostom (d. 407AD) exhorts us as Christians to take from the Gospel parable of the Last Judgment a practical lesson in what to do with all of the excess clothes we might have around our homes.

“Let us, on the contrary, not allow our garments to be consumed by moths and rot away to no purpose in the cupboard while so many people are needy and go about naked; let us instead put the naked Christ ahead of moths and clothe him as he goes about naked for us and our salvation, so that having been deemed worthy to clothe him we may hear on that dread day, ‘I was naked and you clothed me.’ His precepts aren’t burdensome, are they? They are not excessive, are they? What is rotting away, he says, what is being consumed by moths, what is used up idly and to no purpose – this takes pains to dispose of profitably, so that you may both escape the harm of the loss and also store up for yourself the greatest advantage from them. It is, after all, a mark of excessive inhumanity after so much enjoyment to store up the surplus in chests and cupboards and not succeed in alleviating the neediness of our fellows but rather choose to have it destroyed by rust and moths and fall into the hands of robbers, and thus earn condemnation on this account rather than win a reward on their account by disposing of it properly. Let us not, indeed, I beseech you, deal so negligently with the salvation of our souls, but instead dispose of our surplus to those in need and so lay up for ourselves great confidence so that we may be found worthy to enjoy ineffable blessings, thank to the grace and loving kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Spirit  be glory, power and honor, now and forever, for ages of ages. Amen.” (The Fathers of the Church: Homilies on Genesis 18-45, pgs. 322-323)

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One Response to Spring Cleaning: Give Your Unneeded Clothes to Christ

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