Feed the hungry

Ivan Bandura
Feeding the hungry mouths at Euromaidan in Kiev

“Jesus said to his disciples, “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 25:35-36

There are many people I know or have known who struggle to recover from addiction and stay sober.

So when I opened the rectory office door to a young woman who greeted me with: “Hi! I’m a recovering addict and alcoholic!” — my spontaneous reaction was delight and a loud “Yay!”

“I know, hey?” she said with a smile that matched mine and made her eyes shine with godly brilliance.

She wanted to receive Communion. Had I known where the key to the Tabernacle was kept, I would have taken her to the chapel and served her. As it was, I invited her into the rectory and said to the priest, “This young lady would like to receive Communion.”

He barely acknowledged her and kept his eyes on his computer while he said, “I’ll meet you in the chapel in ten minutes.”

The light faded out of her face. She looked at him, assessing him, maybe judging him. “Thanks,” she said, “But it’s almost time for lunch. I have to go.”

At the door, I wished her well, sketched a Sign of the Cross over her, and made a silent prayer that she continue on the hard road of recovery.

Sometimes it is my failures to feed others that show me how to do better the next time. May I continue to have opportunities.

Countercultural

Parable of the Talents
between 1400 and 1500

Jesus told his disciples this parable: “A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one–to each according to his ability.” Matthew 25:14-15

I am imagining another scenario: the man gave a fourth servant half a talent. This servant bought bread with the talent and distributed it to the poor, the widows, the orphans, the lame, and the ill. When the man returned from his journey, all of those who had received bread were waiting to give him thanks.

What would the man say to the servant to whom he had given half a talent?

Sometimes it is necessary to be countercultural, to refuse to contribute to a system that seeks its own gratification and forgets those in need.

Seek Wisdom

One who watches for [Wisdom] at dawn will not be disappointed, for she will be found sitting at the gate. Wisdom 6:14

In our awareness, we will find the Wisdom of God’s love, compassion, forgiveness, and peace sitting at the gate of our heart.

Today I will open my heart to Wisdom, to seek and find the Truth of God’s loving presence in every breath.

Blessed are we

James Tissot (1836-1902)
La sermon des béatitudes
opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
between 1886 and 1894
Brooklyn Museum of Art

Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2

Blessed are we when we treat ourselves and others with compassion, forgiveness, and mercy. This is our birthright for we have been made in God’s own image of kindness and love.

Today I will put aside resentment, blame, and negative judgment. I will remember that all people are children of God and treat everyone with respect and kindness.

Practice love

James Tissot (1836-1902)
Les pharisiens questionnent Jésus
gouache over graphite on gray wove paper, between 1886 and 1894
Brooklyn Museum

“Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

My purpose for today and every day: to love as Jesus commanded — not asked, but commanded.

Love has many aspects: kindness, respect, courtesy, civility, compassion, patience, humility, forgiveness.

Today I will follow Jesus and choose one aspect of love to practice with God, myself, and my neighbor.

Whose image is this?

College di razze umane individuate dalla vecchia tassonomia, 2017

[Jesus said to the Pharisees], “Whose image is this and whose inscription?” Matthew 22:20

Every human person is made in the image of God’s love and goodness. God has written into our hearts the inscription of love, respect, forgiveness, and compassion.

Lord, may I see your image in every human face and inscribe my life with with love and respect for all people everywhere.

A garment of love

Aldersbach abbey ( Lower Bavaria ). Mary Assumption parish church: Narthex – Fresco (1760) illustrating the Gospel of Matthew 22, 7: “See, the meal is ready, come!”

But when the king came in to meet the guests, he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.
Matthew 22:11

Today I will wear a garment woven of joy and kindness to celebrate that I was made in the image of God’s love and goodness.

Lord, may I always accept with gladness your invitation to love my neighbor .

With honor and grace

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

Today I will do my best to embody honor, justice, purity, loveliness, graciousness, and excellence in all my relationships. I will give praise to God for our beautiful world and my family and friends. I will be a peaceful presence at home, in my community, and in the world.

Turn towards the light

Ralph Stackpole (1885-1973)
Worship, 1915

Since he has turned away from all the sins that he has committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. Ezekiel 18:28

It’s never too late to turn from resentment, hostility, indifference, self-righteousness, divisiveness, racism…

Today is the day I will turn towards the light of forgiveness, kindness, compassion,  generosity, unity, and respect for all members of our human family.

Lord, give me the courage to follow your Way of life.

Seek peace and compassion

Gerard de Jode (ca.1511-1591)
The Parable of the workers in the vineyard, 1585
Royal Library of Belgium

Seek the LORD while he may be found,
call him while he is near. Isaiah 55:6

God is as near as my choice to love my neighbor as myself, to treat others with respect, to show compassion to those who are suffering, to forgive those who have hurt me, to be generous to those in need.

Today I will seek the path of love, compassion, and peace. I will call on the Lord to give me the courage and trust to follow this path.