A GENEROUS HEART

Monday 13th March – Monday of the 2nd week of lent

Reflection: Luke 6:36-38

A GENEROUS HEART

“Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be measure you get back” Luke 6:38

It is often said that givers never lack and the hand that gives is always on top. A generous heart is not only reflected in extending hands of generosity to the needy, poor or less-privileged; but also in the readiness to pray for others. When we see our brethren living below the expectation of their call as Christians, we should not criticize or point accusing fingers at them. Such moments give us the opportunity to be generous with our kind words and prayers. We should be ready to encourage those who are discouraged or spiritually weak, especially by praying for them and for the conversion of sinners.

Our generosity attracts God’s blessing when it is done, not out of compulsion, but with a willing and loving heart (2 Cor 9:6-8). He who gives sparingly will receive sparingly and he who gives bountifully will receive bountifully. It is the measure we give that we will receive. For God loves a cheerful giver. As we choose to pray for others rather than criticizing them, God will raise people to pray for us too. Let your preoccupation this season of Lent be to pray, fast and to give alms; and may God accept your offering of love.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, I thank you for giving me your very self through your death on the cross and in the Eucharist. Please grant me a generous heart so I can be like you. Amen.

Faith Pearls: YOUCAT 449 – What significance do the poor have for Christians?

Love for the poor must be in every age the distinguishing mark of Christians. The poor deserve not just a few alms; they have a claim to justice. For Christians there is a special obligation to share their goods. Our example in love for the poor is Christ.

Hide a Treasure: “You should each give, then as you have decided, not with regret or out of a sense of duty, for God loves the one who gives gladly” 2 Corinthians 9:7 GNB

Today’s Readings: Daniel 9:4-10; Psalm 79: 8-13; Luke 6:36-38

TAKING ADVANTAGE

Monday 6th March – Monday of the 1st week of Lent

Reflection: Matthew 25:31-46

TAKING ADVANTAGE

As we take up the challenge to grow in holiness, Christ reminds us in today’s gospel reading that our piety should not be unidirectional – directed only to God. Our piety instead should be directed both to God in prayer and to our neighbor in showing love.

Today’s first reading runs through a list of “thou shall nots” which God gave to Moses for the Israelites. God warned his chosen people against taking advantage of the less privileged in their midst: the blind, the dumb, laborers who depended on them for their wages etc. They were to desist from the temptation of taking advantage of those at their mercy. What is more? Christ shows that our call doesn’t simply stop at that. Our Christian call invites us to take a step further. While we should not take advantage of the less privileged, we must take advantage of the opportunity their presence in our midst offers us – the opportunity to give, to love, to reach out, to provide.

We are called to recognize Christ, present in the hungry, the sick, the homeless, the stranger and prisoner and even those closest to us who need our help or attention in any way. The call to almsgiving during Lent offers you and I a reminder to be more conscious of practicing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. As you step out today, seek the opportunities God offers you to extend a helping hand and be sure to take good advantage of them to deepen your love for God and for your neighbor.

Prayer: Lord, please take away the selfishness in me that makes me shrink from extending my hands to those in need. Fill my heart with love and mercy this season of grace. Amen.

Faith Pearls: YOUCAT 450 – What are the “corporal works of mercy”? To feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick and the imprisoned, and bury the dead.

451 What are the “spiritual works of mercy”? The spiritual works of mercy are: to instruct the ignorant, to counsel the doubtful, comfort the sorrowful, admonish the sinner, bear wrongs patiently, forgive all injuries, and pray for the living and the dead.

 Hide a Treasure: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:40 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Lev 19:1-2, 11-18; Psalm 19:8-10, 15; Mt 25: 31-46

A PLEASING PENANCE

Friday 3rd March – Friday after Ash Wednesday

Reflection: Isaiah 58: 1-9

A PLEASING PENANCE

A hungry man, they say, is an angry man. As the call to fasting, prayer and almsgiving is emphasized this season, we must not fall into the trap of being “angry” as a result of “hunger”. Our penance is aimed at putting our flesh underneath and seeking to love God in our neighbours. Hence, for it to be rewarding, our penance must be pleasing to God. In today’s reading, God reprimanded the Israelites through Prophet Isaiah because their penance was accompanied by dishonesty, oppression and quarrelling; He told them clearly that their penance had no reward: “Fasting like yours today will never make you voice heard on high…” (Is 58:4). On the other hand, He called them to seek for justice and be generous with corporal works of mercy – feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless etc.

Dear friend, what acts of penance have you set out to undertake this season? Let these acts be marked by an honest desire to seek out the needs of those around you. As you do this, God promises that: “your light will shine like the dawn and your wound will be quickly healed over. Your integrity will go before you and the glory of the Lord behind you. Cry, and the Lord will answer; call, and he will say, ‘I am here.’ (Is 58: 8-9).

Every day of Lent, look out for a need in someone around you: maybe a need for money, attention, care, a listening ear etc and meet that need in love. Let your acts of penance truly please the Lord throughout this season and bring relief and joy to others.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, please help me to extend my hands generously to others this season so that my penance may be pleasing to you. Amen.

Faith Pearls: YOUCAT 450 – What are the “corporal works of mercy”?

To feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick and the imprisoned, and bury the dead

Hide a Treasure: “Is not this the kind of fast that pleases me: To share your food with the hungry; to bring into your house the homeless poor, to clothe the naked when you find them and not turn away from your own kin” Isaiah 58: 6a,7 CCB

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 58: 1-9; Ps 51: 3-6, 18-19; Mt 9: 14-15