Monday of the First Week of Lent




Monday of the First Week of Lent

Today’s Audio Mass Readings – Lectionary: 224

1st Reading – 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.

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.”

Catholic Daily Reflections

Serving Christ in Others

“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40

Who is that “least brother?” It’s interesting that Jesus specifically points to the person considered the least, as opposed to a more general statement that includes all people. Why not say, “Whatever you do to others…?” This would include all whom we serve. But instead Jesus pointed to the least brother. Perhaps this should be seen, especially, as the most sinful person, the weakest, the most gravely ill, the incapacitated, the hungry and the homeless, and all those who have pronounced needs in this life.

The most beautiful and touching part about this statement is that Jesus identifies Himself with the person in need, the “least” of all. By serving those in special need, we are serving Jesus. But for Him to be able to say that, He has to be intimately united with these people. And by showing such an intimate connection to them, Jesus reveals their infinite dignity as persons.

This is such an important point to grasp! In fact, this has been a central theme in the constant teachings of St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and especially Pope Francis. An invitation to constant focus upon the dignity and value of the person must be the central message we take from this passage.

Reflect, today, upon the dignity of each and every person. Try to call to mind anyone you may fail to look at with perfect respect. Who is it you look down upon and roll your eyes at? Who is it you judge or disdain? It is within this person, more than any other, that Jesus waits for you. He waits to meet you and to have you love Him in the weak and the sinner. Reflect upon their dignity. Identify the person who fits this description the most in your life and commit yourself to love and serve them. For in them you will love and serve our Lord.

Dear Lord, I do understand and believe that You are present, in hidden form, in the weakest of the weak, the poorest of the poor and in the sinner in our midst. Help me to diligently seek You out in each and every person I encounter, especially those in most need. As I find You, may I love You and serve You with my whole heart. Jesus, I trust in You.

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