Lenten Reflection – 11 March – Monday of the First Week of Lent, Gospel: Matthew 25:31–46
“Come, you who are blessed by my Father”
Homily attributed to Saint Hippolytus of Rome (c 170-c 235)
Priest and Martyr
“Come, my Father’s blessed ones, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Come, you lovers of poor people and strangers. Come, you who fostered My love, for I am love… Look, My kingdom is ready, paradise stands open, My immortality is displayed in all its beauty. Come now, all of you, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Then, astounded at so great a wonder – at being addressed as friends by Him whom the angelic hosts are unable clearly to behold – the righteous will reply, exclaiming: “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you? Master, when did we see You thirsty and give You a drink? When did we see You, whom we hold in awe, naked and clothe You? When did we see You, the immortal One, a stranger and welcome You? When did we see You, lover of our race, sick or in prison and come to visit You? You are the Eternal, without beginning like the Father, and co-eternal with the Spirit. You are the One who created all things from nothing, You are the King of angels, You make the depths tremble, You are clothed in light as in a robe (Ps 104:2), You are our maker who fashioned us from the earth (Gn 2:7), You are the creator of the world invisible. The whole earth flies from Your presence (Rv 20:11). How could we possibly have received Your lordship, Your royal majesty, as our guest?”
Then will the King of Kings say to them in reply: “Inasmuch as you did this to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did it to me. Inasmuch as you received, clothed, fed and gave a drink to those members of mine (1Cor 12:12) about whom I have just spoken to you, that is, to the poor, you did it to me. So come, enter the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, enjoy forever the gifts of my heavenly Father and of the most holy and life-giving Spirit.” What tongue can describe those blessings? “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor human heart conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1Cor 2:9).
Bring us back to you.
We repeat our desire that God bring us home from our wandering.
We know that in the confusion that surrounds us and can fill us,
we need the gift of Wisdom.
It is fitting that our very first “lesson” in our faith,
is the last judgement scene that Jesus paints for us.
We will be judged on whether we:
fed the hungry
welcomed the stranger
clothed the naked
comforted the sick
visited the imprisoned.
It is powerful to re-learn this wisdom –
Jesus identifies with each of these “least” cared for.
Who might we feed, welcome, clothe, comfort or visit this week?
As my heart might “resist” this mission,
I might beg to be brought back, with all my heart.
Praise to Jesus, our Saviour, by his death He has opened for us the way of salvation.
Let us ask Him:
Lord, guide Your people to walk in Your ways.
God of mercy, You gave us new life through baptism,
– make us grow day by day in Your likeness.
May our generosity today bring joy to those in need,
– in helping them may we find You.
Help us to do what is good, right and true in Your sight,
– and to seek You always with undivided hearts.
Forgive our sins against the unity of Your family,
– make us one in heart and spirit.
You call us back to You with all of our hearts.
I feel Your call for me deep in my heart
and I know You want me back
as much as I want to return.
give me the wisdom to know how to return.
Make my journey back to You this Lent
one of grace, forgiveness and gentle love.
May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.