Category Archives: Matthew

To-do list

Mount of Beatitudes

Thus says the LORD:
Share your bread with the hungry,
shelter the oppressed and the homeless;
clothe the naked when you see them,
and do not turn your back on your own.

Isaiah 58:7

Sometimes I just don’t know how to help. There are so many people in need.

But the Lord gives me a simple to-do list. Share my food and clothing. Find a way to help those without homes and those who are suffering unjust, inhumane treatment. Honor and respect all people. Make my home an oasis of kindness and welcome.

Today I will shine the light of love and compassion in my corner of the world. I will refuse to be indifferent to any of God’s children.

Blessed with love

Seek justice, seek humility. Zephaniah 2:3b

Grief, confrontation, and injustice are realities of the human condition. Every time our lives are disrupted by death, illness, aggression, violence, prejudice, or discrimination, we have the opportunity to ask God to help us, to teach us what we need to learn from the experience in order to grow in our likeness to God’s love and goodness.

To seek justice for ourselves and others is to love our neighbor as ourselves.

To seek humility is to look to the Lord to teach us how to relate to others from a place of peace, understanding, and compassion.

Today I will remember God’s Spirit is in me to teach me and lead me. I am blessed to be alive to share God’s goodness and love with all of my neighbors near and far.

Follow Love

James Tissot (1836-1902)
Calling of Saint James and Saint John

Jesus called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him. Matthew 4:21c-22

Constant reports of war, greed, illness, depression, aggression, finger-pointing, and lack of personal accountability are causes of gloom and distress in our daily lives.

But the Lord calls us to leave our preoccupation with all that is in disrepair in the world and instead follow him to show by our life example that reconciliation, respect, courtesy, and compassionate service have the power to mend all divisions.

Today I will remember God has graced me with a spirit of love. I will follow the Lord on the way of love to bring the light of kindness, encouragement, and hope to all people I encounter.

The treasures we offer

JESUS MAFA. Visit of the Three Wise Men, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.

The magi opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:11

When I open my heart, I find beautiful treasures of compassion, comfort, and kindness to offer to others.

Today I will explore my heart to uncover its treasures. I will offer these gifts to God through my interactions with each member of God’s human family.

Messengers of light and hope

Third Sunday of Advent

[Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John the Baptist,] “This is the one about whom it is written:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you.” Matthew 11:10

We, too, are messengers of the Lord when we trust in God’s vision of peace and unity, when we are patient and encouraging with each other, when we put aside prejudice and complaints and actively love one another.

Today I will be a messenger of light and hope by choosing kindness and compassion in all my interactions.

Treasures of the heart

Emmanuel Tzanes (1610-1690)
Adoration of the Magi
Egg tempera on wood, 1667
The Loverdos Museum

[The magi] were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Matthew 2:10-11

When I open my heart, treasures of kindness, generosity, forgiveness, courtesy, respect, love, peace, and compassion bless the world.

Today I will offer the treasures of my heart to everyone I encounter.

With us

[Jesus said,] “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b

In fear, illness, sorrow, the Lord is with me. In joy, laughter, companionship, the Lord is with me. In loneliness, rejection, suffering, the Lord is with me.

Whatever I experience, wherever I am, the Lord is with me.

Today I will remember the Lord is with me, showing me the path to love and unity.

God’s glorious light

Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898)
The Star of Bethlehem
watercolor and gouache, 1890

Though darkness covers the earth,
and thick clouds, the peoples,
Upon you the LORD will dawn,
and over you his glory will be seen. Isaiah 60:2

Today I will not let the darkness of the pandemic, political posturing, and social tumult cover me. I will shine the glory of God’s love and compassion and comfort in my home, workplace, and community to help dissipate the clouds of fear, unrest, and discord that trouble our world.

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.