Intention: For all who live in the darkness of poverty, violence, abuse, or neglect, that they may know the comfort of our solidarity and assistance, and the restoration of their security and dignity.
Today’s Gospel | Matthew 23:13-22
Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves.
“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’ Blind fools, which is greater, the gold, or the temple that made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If one swears by the altar, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.’ You blind ones, which is greater, the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it; one who swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it; one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who is seated on it.”
From the Fourth Meditation for the Time of Retreat | Saint John Baptist de La Salle
Jesus Christ, speaking to his apostles, told them that he gave an example to them that they might do as he himself had done. He also wanted his disciples to accompany him at all the conversions he brought about, so that seeing how he acted, they could, in all they would have to do to win souls to God, be guided and formed by his conduct.
This is also what you must do, since Jesus Christ has chosen you among so many others to be his cooperators in the salvation of souls. In reading the Gospel you must study the manner and the means that he used to lead his disciples to practice the truths of the Gospel.
Sometimes he proposed as a happiness everything that the world holds in horror, like poverty, injuries, insults, slander, and every kind of persecution for the sake of justice, even telling his disciples that they ought to be glad and rejoice when such things happen to them.
At other times he inspired horror for the sins into which people ordinarily fall, or at other times he proposed virtues to practice, such as gentleness, humility, and the like.
He also made them understand that unless their justice surpassed that of the scribes and Pharisees (who bothered themselves about externals only), they would not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Eternal Father, we pray today for the grace of integrity. Your spirit dwells inside of us, teaching us to do justly, to love mercifully, and to walk humbly before you. Even when life brings the temptation to be judgmental or arrogant, help us always to behave compassionately and respectfully. Fill us with care and vigilance and show us the way to each other’s hearts. We ask this of you who lives and reigns with your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.