“I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did it for me!” (Mt 25:40)
Today’s Passages: Mt 25:31-46; Lev 19:1-2, 11-18
Meditation: Today’s meditation passages rightly remind us of keeping the real motive of the Lenten season. As we enter the second week of the season, we should not lose the spirit we had on Ash Wednesday. Sometimes, it may lead us to mere keeping some abstinence or fasting. Though these are not bad in themselves, these alone cannot keep us united to Jesus Christ and his people. Therefore, let us pay due attention to today’s passages and their message.
In the first reading, we hear the Lord God saying, “Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy.” (Lev 19:2) This, of course, is the purpose of the Lenten season we observe. However, how do we obtain this holiness? In the OT tradition everything that is connected to God is holy and therefore, there was a strong inclination to keep away from everyone and everything that is not holy and divine. In this way they thought that they were on the path of becoming holy people.
This way of understanding holiness is also found emphasized in the formulation of the laws of the people of God. In the first reading, from verses 11 to 18, we find “nine times” as a refrain, “you shall not.” I do believe that because of this mind set up the people were naturally inclined to be alert on what all things they should not do or observe. This type of observing the laws or rituals will not make us indeed holy rather may make us “satisfied” in our religious life.
But Jesus was against this “religious satisfaction” and therefore, he touched the untouchables, made friendship with the marginalized, and ate with the sinners and tax collectors. He even summarized the Ten Commandments into two; two simple positive laws: love your God and love your neighbor. It is not only your attempts to keep yourselves away from sins that matters, but also your attempts to possess holiness; Lenten season is not of a mere passive attitude, rather it is of more active heart and mind. This is apparently evident from today’s gospel reading.
Jesus rewards all those who had this positive mind and attitude: “I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did it for me!” (Mt 25:40) Of course, this does not mean that your Lenten season is merely doing some social or charitable activities. In other words, this may lead to the temptation of some showy business like that of the Pharisees. Therefore, today’s passages remind you and me that becoming holy is not only a process of driving out evils from us but also filling us with the Holy Spirit; not only abstaining from something but doing good for others.
Prayer: Lord God, we thank you and praise you for your daily eternal bread. O Lord God, help us to be genuine in our religious practices. Let us learn the meaning of real abstinence and fasting; it is also keeping ourselves away from anything and anyone that blocks our going closer to God and his little ones. We ask for this grace through Christ our Lord. Amen!
Greetings: God is with you! Wish you a blessed and fruitful Lenten Monday!