Monday, February 18, 2013

“It is not enough to be compassionate; you must act”

"We sometimes feel that what we do is just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be less because of that missing drop." -- Mother Teresa

Gospel text (Mt 25,31-46): Jesus said to his disciples, «When the Son of Man comes in his glory with all his angels, He will sit on the throne of his Glory. All the nations will be brought before him, and as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, so will He do with them, placing the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. The King will say to those on his right: ‘Come, blessed of my Father! Take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. For I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me into your house. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came to see me’. Then the good people will ask him: ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and give you food; thirsty and give you drink, or a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to see you?’. The King will answer, ‘Truly, I say to you: whenever you did this to these little ones who are my brothers and sisters, you did it to me’.

»Then he will say to those on his left: ‘Go, cursed people, out of my sight into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry and you did not give me anything to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink; I was a stranger and you did not welcome me into your house; I was naked and you did not clothe me; I was sick and in prison and you did not visit me’. They, too, will ask: ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, thirsty, naked or a stranger, sick or in prison, and did not help you?’. The King will answer them: ‘Truly, I say to you: whatever you did not do for one of these little ones, you did not do for me’. And these will go into eternal punishment, but the just to eternal life».

In Leo Tolstoy’s tale “Martin the Cobbler,” Martin is told in a dream that Jesus will come to see him. He spends the next day nervously glancing out the window of his shop, looking for Jesus to walk down the street. Several times that day, Martin breaks away from his vigil to welcome and help needy passersby: a weary worker, a freezing mother and infant, and an old woman angry with a misbehaving boy. That night, Martin puzzles over why Jesus never showed up. Just then, he hears a voice asking, “Martin, don’t you know me?” Through the darkness he sees all his needy visitors, each one saying, “It is I.”

We are at the beginning of our Lenten journey. Instead of wondering how Jesus will come to you this Lent, why not go out and meet him? You’ll find him in the eyes of your children. You’ll find him in the touch of your spouse. You’ll find him in the home of a lonely neighbor and in the face of the homeless man downtown. Go and meet him there, and you’ll find it much easier to discover him in the tabernacle at church and in the words you read in Scripture.

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