44 Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee?
Origen: Mark how the righteous dwell upon each word, while the unrighteous answer summarily, and not going through the particular instances; for so it becomes the righteous out of humility to disclaim each individual generous action, when imputed to them publicly; whereas bad men excuse their sins, and endeavour to prove them few and venial.
45 Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.
Origen: To the righteous He says, “In that ye did it to my brethren,” to shew the greatness of their good deeds; to the sinners He says only, “to one of the least of these,” not aggravating their sin. For they are truly His brethren who are perfect; and a deed of mercy shewn to the more holy is more acceptable to God than one shewn to the less holy; and the sin of overlooking the less holy is less than of overlooking the more holy.
Augustine: He is now treating of the last judgment, when Christ shall come from heaven to judge the quick and dead. This day of the Divine judgment we call the Last Day, that is, the end of time; for we cannot tell through how many days that judgment will be prolonged; but day, as is the use of holy Scripture, is put for time. And we therefore call it the last or latest judgment, because He both now judges and has judged from the beginning of the human race, when He thrust forth the first man from the tree of life, and spared not the Angels that sinned. But in that final judgment both men and Angels shall be judged together, when the Divine power shall bring each man’s good and evil deeds in review before his memory, and one intuitive glance shall present them to the perception, so that at once we shall be condemned or acquitted in our consciences.
Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. I (London: Rivington, 1842).