210. Whatsoever You Do to the Least

Text Information
First Line: When I was hungry, you gave me to eat
Title: Whatsoever You Do to the Least
Paraphraser: Willard Francis Jabusch (1966)
Refrain First Line: Whatsoever you do to the least of my people
Meter: irregular
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ; ; ;
Topic: Songs for Children: Bible Songs; Justice; Mercy (2 more...)
Copyright: Text and music © 1966, 1982, admin. by OCP Publications. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Tune Information
Composer: Willard Francis Jabusch (1966)
Meter: irregular
Key: D Major
Copyright: Text and music © 1966, 1982, admin. by OCP Publications. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Text Information:

Scripture References:
ref. = Matt. 25:40
st. 1 = Matt. 25:35-36
st. 2 = Matt. 25:36

This Scripture song is based on Matthew 25:35-36, 40, part of Christ's story about the sheep and the goats at the final judgment (25:31-46) .Jesus teaches here that the basis for judging is whether love has been shown to God's people–even to the least of them (see also 1 John 3: 14-15). Rewards in the kingdom of God go to those who serve without claiming any merit themselves.

Willard F. Jabusch (b. Chicago, IL, 1930) composed the text and tune in 1965 for a youth Mass at St. Celestine's Church, Elmwood Park, Illinois. Jabusch was one of many Roman Catholic priests who provided church music with English texts after Vatican II began the use of vernacular in worship. He is well-known for many Scripture paraphrases, and many of these are set to folk tunes–especially eastern European ones, because of Jabusch's familiarity with multiethnic parishes in the Chicago area (see also 370). This song was published with eleven stanzas in Hymnal for Young Christians (1966). The Psalter Hymnal includes the original stanzas 1, 2, 3, and 5 (the biblically based ones), combined in two longer stanzas.

Jabusch received degrees from St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois, and Loyola University, Chicago. He also earned a doctorate at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois (1986), and studied music at the Chicago Conservatory and the University of London. A parish priest at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Chicago from 1956 to 1961, he taught at Niles College of Loyola University from 1963 to 1966 and at the Mundelein Seminary from 1968 to 1990. Since 1990 Jabusch has been director of Calvert House, the Roman Catholic student center at the University of Chicago. His theological publications include The Person in the Pulpit (1980), Walk Where Jesus Walked (1986), and The Spoken Christ (1990). He has written some forty tunes and one hundred hymn texts, often pairing them with eastern European and Israeli folk tunes.

Liturgical Use:
Lord's Supper; funeral services; worship services focusing on the final judgment or stressing the social implications of living the gospel.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

WHATSOEVER YOU DO begins with a refrain that surrounds each stanza. A simple melody, it is designed for unison singing, although the refrain could easily be adapted for part singing. Because the entire text is a quotation from Jesus, the song should be sung through by one body: soloist, choir, or congregation, possibly distinguishing only the refrain by singing harmony. This music is written to flow in continual motion, so be careful not to pause between stanzas and refrain. Keep it moving at one pulse per bar, and use light organ registration or folk instruments.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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