THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for Monday of the First Week of Lent, February 23rd, 2015
Liturgical texts here
IT is from a total and complete abandonment to God that something beautiful happens: all those securities and attachments that you clung desperately to, but leave in His hands, are exchanged for the supernatural life of God. It is hard to see from a human perspective. It often looks about as beautiful as a butterfly still in a cocoon. We see nothing but darkness; feel nothing but the old self; hear nothing but the echo of our weakness steadily ringing in our ears. And yet, if we persevere in this state of total surrender and trust before God, the extraordinary happens: we become co-workers with Christ.
That is because one cannot become a fire without giving off heat, one cannot be set ablaze without casting a supernatural light. Authentic communion with God naturally gives way to mission. As Pope Francis wrote:
…any person who has experienced a profound liberation becomes more sensitive to the needs of others. As it expands, goodness takes root and develops. If we wish to lead a dignified and fulfilling life, we have to reach out to others and seek their good. In this regard, several sayings of Saint Paul will not surprise us: “The love of Christ urges us on” (2 Cor 5:14) “Woe to me if I do not proclaim the Gospel” (1 Cor 9:16). —POPE FRANCIS, Evangelii Gaudium, n. 9
…nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbour’s life is at stake. (Today’s first reading)
When your neighbour’s soul is at stake. Today’s Gospel should shake every one of us from the false notion that we somehow have little to do with the physical and spiritual welfare of others—whether they are imprisoned by their sin or by bars. There is no need to qualify Our Lord’s words or reframe them:
‘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… (Today’s Gospel)
We cannot bury our “talent” in the ground. And it doesn’t matter who you are—whether you have one, five, or ten talents as the parable goes—we are each called in our own way to reach out to “the least of the brothers.” For some of you, that may be your husband or your neighbour… or a hundred strangers. But how? What can you do? Well, how can we bring the love of Jesus to others if we have not encountered it ourselves through a personal relationship with Him? As John Paul II wrote:
Communion and mission are profoundly connected with each other… communion gives rise to mission and mission is accomplished in communion. —POPE ST. JOHN PAUL II, Christifideles Laici, Apostolic Exhortation, n. 32
That is to say that our interior life in God is what inspires, guides, and makes fruitful our exterior life.
…because without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
Through seeking God’s face, through reading Scripture, through daily prayer, through frequent encounters with Christ through the Sacraments, and through seasons such as Lent where we uproot more and more of our sinfulness, we will not only grow to love Him, but grow to know what He desires. We will come to know the mind of Christ and find Him where He is: in the least of the brothers. And then, we will be able to work with Him for the salvation and well-being of others.
Far from a threat, the Gospel today is an invitation into the Great Adventure.
Life grows by being given away, and it weakens in isolation and comfort. Indeed, those who enjoy life most are those who leave security on the shore and become excited by the mission of communicating life to others. —POPE FRANCIS, Evangelii Gaudium, n. 10; from the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops, Aparecida Document, 29 June 2007, 360
A song I wrote about leaving the security of shore…
and becoming vulnerable to God and others.
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Spend 5 minutes a day with Mark, meditating upon the daily Now Word in the Mass readings
for these forty days of Lent.
A sacrifice that will feed your soul!