Striving side by side toward the good life and encouraging one another in the virtues, true friends are primarily concerned not with what they get out of the friendship but with what is best for the friend and with pursuing the virtuous life with that friend. — from Men, Women, and the Mystery of Love
This is a special day for the Jesuits, who claim today's saint as one of their own. It's also a special day for people who have a special devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus—a devotion Claude de la Colombière promoted, along with his friend and spiritual companion, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. The emphasis on God's love for all was an antidote to the rigorous moralism of the Jansenists, who were popular at the time.
Claude showed remarkable preaching skills long before his ordination in 1675. Two months later he was made superior of a small Jesuit residence in Burgundy. It was there he first encountered Margaret Mary Alacoque. For many years after he served as her confessor.
He was next sent to England to serve as confessor to the Duchess of York. He preached by both words and by the example of his holy life, converting a number of Protestants. Tensions arose against Catholics and Claude, rumored to be part of a plot against the king, was imprisoned. He was ultimately banished, but by then his health had been ruined.
He died in 1682. Pope John Paul II canonized Claude de la Colombière in 1992.
Dear Jesus, I come to you today longing for your presence. I desire to love you as You love me. May nothing ever separate me from You.
Lord you gave me life and the gift of freedom. Through Your love I exist in this world. May I never take the gift of life for granted. May I always respect the right to life of others.
Help me Lord to be more conscious of your presence. Teach me to recognise your presence in others. Fill my heart with gratitude for the times Your love has been shown to me through the care of others.
The Word of God
Monday of the First Week of Lent
Reading 1 Lv 19:1-2, 11-18 **
The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the whole assembly of the children of Israel and tell them: Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.
"You shall not steal. You shall not lie or speak falsely to one another. You shall not swear falsely by my name, thus profaning the name of your God. I am the LORD.
"You shall not defraud or rob your neighbor. You shall not withhold overnight the wages of your day laborer. You shall not curse the deaf, or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but you shall fear your God. I am the LORD.
"You shall not act dishonestly in rendering judgment. Show neither partiality to the weak nor deference to the mighty, but judge your fellow men justly. You shall not go about spreading slander among your kin; nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbor's life is at stake. I am the LORD.
"You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. Though you may have to reprove him, do not incur sin because of him. Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD."
Responsorial Psalm PS 19:8, 9, 10, 15 R. (John 6:63b) Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life. The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The decree of the LORD is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.** The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart. The command of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eye.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.** The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; The ordinances of the LORD are true, all of them just.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life. Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart find favor before you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
Verse Before the Gospel 2 Cor 6:2b** Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
Gospel Mt 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."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
This message is simple, Lord. You will judge me on my love and service of others. You are there in the poor, the sick, the prisoners, the strangers. May I recognise your face.
Where are the hungry, the naked, the homeless who would call on me if they could reach me? Or have I so organised my life that the needy never impinge on me? Lord, you have made this the sole criterion of judgment. How will I measure up?
How has God's Word moved me? Has it left me cold? Has it consoled me or moved me to act in a new way? I imagine Jesus standing or sitting beside me, I turn and share my feelings with him.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
Whatever you did for one of these least . . . (Matthew 25:40)
Inspired by the work of the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, a young woman once asked Blessed Mother Teresa if she could join the order. "Stay where you are," she replied. "Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering, and the lonely, right there where you are—in your home and in your family, in your workplace and in your school. Everywhere, wherever you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved."
The Missionaries of Charity, as their name implies, have made it their mission to love those who are unloved. In a similar vein, Jesus tells us that if we care for the "least" among us, we will be "blessed" by God (Matthew 25:40, 34).
It may seem obvious, but what exactly is Jesus asking of us? There are at least a couple of different ways to answer this question. First, he means exactly what his words say. He is asking us literally to tend the sick, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, and visit those in prison. These are the "least" of his brothers and sisters. They are especially close to his heart, and he will hold us accountable for how we treat them.
Another way to look at this passage is to listen to Mother Teresa: "Calcutta" is everywhere. Think of those in spiritual prisons; so many people may seem fine on the outside, but they feel trapped inside. How about the elderly neighbor who lives by herself? She isn't exactly a prisoner, but she clearly has some limitations and would appreciate visitors. Or what about spiritual hunger? All around us, there are people who need to hear about Jesus, maybe even in our own homes. They are hungry for the good news of God's love and mercy.
Throughout her ministry, Mother Teresa lived out both approaches. In a heroic way, she took care of the sick, fed the hungry, and clothed the naked. But she also knew that each person needs to be loved and treated with dignity and honor—and she did just that for everyone she met, kings and peasants alike. Like her, let's be ready to embrace every opportunity to feed the people around us, both physically and spiritually.
"Jesus, show me at least one way today in which I can help someone."
Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18 Psalm 19:8-10, 15
audio2cents my2cents: Yesterday, I sang a song after Mass, in a grief kind of tone, about how much I just wanted to go far away. I had goofed on a song that I lead guitar in for Mass. People don't make it a big deal, and I even asked Father a moment ago, if he noticed. I caught some grief from my fellow choir members, rolling their eyes and calling me an old mean choirmaster's name. You see, the song started off on the wrong note, and that wrong key made the rest of the song off key, and even off time it seemed. So instead of interrupting, I waited til they ended and I started it all over, since it was a quick song we had practiced at two practices and I had been practicing at home, it had to be done right for the Lord, I wouldn't care what people thought, I wouldn't care what people would say. It got the best of me. I jumped in my truck and to my surprise, my satelite radio settings had been messed with. My presets were erased for my Christian stations, beginning with the Catholic stations, but the rest were not messed with. It was flat out proof that the devil is out to get to you, to get under your skin. So, I sung a song of grief, and it said that as far as I want to get away, I will still hear His voice. Today, the Lord commands things to us, ""You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. Though you may have to reprove him, do not incur sin because of him. ". In case you haven't noticed, I am holding no grudges on anyone, but I do aim to explain by beginning with an apology. "I am sorry." I am sorry if I embarrassed anyone. I am sorry, but I am not sorry for the reasons I did it:
1st Because I saw a direct attack, a distraction was at hand, and I did not aim to be taken over by distraction. 2nd Because I know we are capable of doing better and I want us all to do better 3rd Because I am not singing just to some people, NO, I am singing to God. So if people walk out and if they did, I will never know because I never turned back. I was praising God. If I have to start over a rosary, or the Lord's prayer because I am not focused, I will. I do will the Father to know I am here for Him. God knows the heart. And the proud have no room in His Kingdom. . Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.** The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. We read in today's 1st Holy Scripture: "Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy." and the Psalms declare "The ordinances of the LORD are true, all of them just." So if He is asking for something JUST it is something HOLY. "Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life." Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart find favor before you. You see, already temptations are hitting me and some of us in ways not thought of. I am already realizing this lent something is happening like never before, and I hope it is happening within you. The Lord our God comes into our lives today "Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.'" I can't forget what the Sisters of Calcutta did, I saw a picture of Mother Teresa's tomb, and on it they had written with flower petals "You Did It To Me". What did she do? She gave her life for the poor and she suffered tremendously for them, or better said, WITH them. Do you think I mean all the people she found in dumpsters? Do you think I mean all the orphans she helped? Do you think I mean all the sick, with no God, the sick Christians, or the Muslims? She helped every single one she ran across. Bishop Robert Barron said once that she had found a starving boy and took him to a bakery for some bread, and when she asked for a piece, the baker got furious blasting at her "do you think I am some sort of charity, here to give my bread away to everyone for free?" and she asked him again, and this time he spit in her face. She wiped the spit away calmly and then said "thank you, that was for me, now please, some bread for the boy". The man was perplexed by this act of love, and that day the boy got to eat. Who lays down their life for others nowadays? Who lays down their pride nowadays? Who makes time for the poor nowadays? I know to me, jail ministry has been an allusive goal. As soon as the opportunity arises, it is lost. Last week I called to see if a couple of people were in jail, and they been moved to a state jail and I wasn't allowed to just visit people randomly. Now what do I do? Sit back? No, I will still visit the poor. I will visit the ones confined for life with no visitors even though visitors are welcome. And you can too. That widow, that widower, that poor elderly person locked up in a nursing home, doors are wide open and they lie dying. You did it for Me. It is clear that the Lord won't accept simply prayers and intentions. It is clear that you'll actually have to do something. Yesterday we started a Renew class. I invited probably about 15-20 men. I bought a kit for 10 men, books and Cd. I showed up. The hour to meet came and passed, not a soul. I bowed my head alone in the classroom, "Lord, I know what's going on. You brought me here and you are going to bring the men that YOU want, not who I want saved. And I also know you are doing this for me". And so I did something the 2 men that showed up weren't doing. I started writing in the new prayer journal things that God was saying to me and I'll leave you with some exerpts: "Don't try to take God's job away, the Holy Spirit"
"God don't want to just change you, He wants to completely TRANSFORM you".