CLICK HERE FOR AUDIO From Mater Dei Radio, Portland, OR
This is Fr. Ron Raab, host of On the Margins, with a Moment of Mercy.
The Corporal Work of Mercy: Clothing the naked
I recently baptized a newborn that was wrapped in an heirloom garment. The parents told me that the white gown their son was wearing belonged to his great, great grandfather. Even though the flowing gown had yellowed with age, it remained a sign of Christ, clothing generations in forgiveness and mercy. The garment was once again a visual sign of new life, of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
As I held the infant in my arms, I was also reminded that we are clothed in Christ’s mercy throughout our lives. Even at funerals, a white garment covers the casket as a sign of our common baptism.
The spiritual image of being clothed in Christ prepares us to offer clothing to the naked and those who live without warm or adequate shoes, pants, underwear and shirts.
Shortly after that baptism, an elderly man approached me on the steps outside of our church. He reeked of urine and his clothes were filthy and they did not keep him warm in the bitter nights outside. He whispered to me his request for some clothing. I found resources for him to shower and to receive warmer, clean clothing.
We are first clothed in Christ Jesus in the dignity of our baptism. Jesus’ mercy changes our attitudes about other people who survive nearly naked in the cold months, who long to be wrapped in the new life that their lives matter in this world.
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Please know of my prayer for you in this Year of Mercy.