Malvern Minute – Monday

March 6, 2017 – Monday of the First Week of Lent

Behold, now is a very acceptable time;

Behold, now is the day of salvation.

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A Reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (25:31-46)

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by 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,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Then he will say to those on his left,
‘Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life.”
Reflect: Whatever you did for one of these least brothers or sisters of mine, you did for me.  Is there any coincidence that in the first few days of Lent Holy Scripture keeps reminding us about the need to be other centered? In this classic Gospel passage from Matthew 25, Jesus leaves no room for wondering. Again, we hear the call to live out the Corporal Works of Mercy. We can’t grow in holiness by neglecting the needs of the most vulnerable. In fact, we can’t enter eternal life if humble and generous service to the most needy and marginalized isn’t deeply imbedded in the core of our Christian lifestyle. Jesus calls us to a way of life, not isolated instances of service. So, therefore, almsgiving – understood as personal direct contact with someone in need – is one of the three traditional legs (together with prayer and fasting) of the Lenten experience and must penetrate the core of our life. May God give us hearts that recognize Jesus in the other – whatever you did for one of these least brothers or sisters, you did for me.

When I see someone who is hungry, thirsty, tattered, an immigrant, mentally or physically challenged or with a criminal record, do I see Jesus? Can I reach out to someone in need, someone who is burdened in my community? Do I donate to help the needy, but fail to know who the people really are?

 

Pray: Loving God, your words are spirit and life. Convert my hard heart so that I can recognize you in the neediest in my world.  I ask this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy!

ENCOUNTERING THE DIVINE PHYSICIAN (Gospel of Luke 5: 17-26)

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