Monday of the First Week of Lent: Matthew 25:31-46, also the Pope and the new cardinals

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.”
(Matthew 25: 31-45)
A priest friend of mine recently asked me to preach at his funeral some day. I hope that day will never come, but he wanted to make sure that I would be willing to preach on this gospel, Matthew 25. This text is the summation of not only his priesthood but our call to put our prayer into practice. This gospel makes sense out of the Eucharist, to live what we believe among people who struggle and are in pain and isolation. This is the classic gospel text that connects prayer and service, the gospel and justice.
If you only spend a few minutes in prayer during this entire Lent, pray with this gospel text. This is our call to extend our lives beyond our own selfishness, our prayer beyond the confines of our own desires. This gospel will change you. I believe there is special grace hidden among the sentences here. This gospel will call you out of your self for the good of all people.
On Sunday February 15, 2015, Pope Francis gave a homily to the new cardinals that I think is the key to his leadership as Pope. I would love to have been a fly on the wall at St. Peter’s watching the reactions of these new cardinals listen to such challenging words from Pope Francis. There has been much written about this homily in the past week. I think today’s gospel goes well with his words about the lepers from last Sunday.
Here are some links to consider:

 Click here for complete text of Pope Francis’ homily from Sunday February 15, 2015

Click here for an article about the homily.

 

How are you being called in this Lenten season to become an instrument of hope for people, a voice of justice?

How do you connect your prayer life to the needs of people around you and for the world?

 

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