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Monday, first week of Lent

February 27, 2012

Blessed Monday!

Convert us, O God our Savior,
and instruct our minds by heavenly teaching,
that we may benefit from the works of Lent.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.
(Opening prayer from today’s Mass)

Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18 (specific ways to love our neighbor)
Psalm 19: 8-15 “Your words Lord, are spirit and life”
+Matthew 25:31-46 (what we do to others, we do to God)

Yes, I am my brother’s keeper.

God continues His examination of conscience, warning us against
lying or speaking falsely to one another,
swearing falsely by His Name (thus profaning it),
defrauding or robbing our neighbor,
delaying payment to the poor,
cursing the deaf,
putting a stumbling block before the blind,
rendering dishonest judgment,
spreading slander,
bearing hatred in your heart,
taking revenge or cherishing a grudge.

But it’s not enough to avoid doing evil.
It’s not enough to “mind your own business.”

You shall not stand by idly when your neighbor’s life is at stake.
-Leviticus 19:16

You shall love your neighbor as yourself
-Leviticus 19:18

Jesus paints a picture of just what that looks like–and what happens when we fail.

Those who fail to feed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger,
clothe the naked, care for the ill or visit the prisoner,
fail to love.
They “stand idly by” when their neighbor’s life is at stake.
They neglect Jesus Himself.
He takes it Personally!

Depart from Me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
-Matthew 25:41

A more recent image of the same theme came out of Nazi Germany:

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.
Martin Niemöller

Today those positions have been taken by the unborn, the elderly and the handicapped
–their lives deemed not worth living.
Have you stood idly by?

God’s response to the murderous Cain’s dodge,
“Am I my brother’s keeper?” (see Genesis 4:9)
is a resounding, “YES! YOU ARE!”

Your neighbor’s need is your business–
and anyone in need is your neighbor
(see the parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:30-37).
God will hold you accountable.

The good news is that it goes both ways.
Those who succeed will inherit the kingdom prepared for them
from the foundation of the world (see Matthew 25:34).
If you give so much as a cup of cold water for His sake,
you will not lack for a reward (see Matthew 10:42).

As her examination of conscience at the end of each day,
Bl. Mother Teresa used to ask

What did I do to Jesus today?
What did I do for Jesus today?
What did I do with Jesus today?

That’s a good place to start.

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