Monday, February 23, 2015

Inherit the Kingdom

Monday of the First Week of Lent
Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your own people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.  Leviticus 19:18
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.’  Matthew 25:34-36
Lord, holy God, loving Father,
you give us the task to love one another
because you are holy
and you have loved us before we could love you.
Give us the ability to recognize your Son
in our brothers and sisters far and near.
Make us witnesses that love exists and is alive
and that you, the God of love,
exist and are alive now forever. (From the
Carmelites web site)
Ours faith, our King and our savior call us to action.  Consider the action words in our readings today.  Love.  Inherit.  Gave.  Welcomed.  Clothed.  Cared.  Visited.  This is a spirituality that calls us to faith.  Then that faith calls us to action.
Growing up, you could walk into church and see people at Mass not really paying attention to what was happening up on the altar or the words being read or spoken from the predella.  In their fingers, they clutched rosary beads in private prayer. There was at the time a disconnection between the celebration of Mass and the celebration of daily life.
The spiritual practices were not as connected to the good works as they are today. The private expression of faith was not as strongly connected to the public expression of faith as it is called to be today.
Vatican II ushered in a new era of spirituality that connected the sanctuary to the streets. Reading and hearing Matthew 25 is reading one of the cornerstones of the social gospels.
The Good News is only good when it is tried and tested.  Jesus was tested at every turn.  His humble birth.  His confrontations with the Pharisees.  His walk in the desert.  His sorrow at losing John the Baptist and almost losing Lazarus. 
Jesus provided us an example to try the Good News out in our lives.  How can you put the spiritual works of mercy to work in conjunction with the corporal works of mercy? The Lectio Divina site from the Carmelites posed this interesting question.  Stop and think: if the Last Judgment would take place today, would you be on the side of the sheep or on the side of the goats?

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