First Reading: Lev 19:1-2. 11-18; Psalm: 19. R. v. Jn 6:63c; Gospel: Mt 25:31-46
WORKS OF CHARITY
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
The gospel reading of today is very precise and emphatic on what is required of us to gain eternal life on the Day of Judgement. It is not how much we’ve prayed or the number of times we went to Church that would save us but how much we’ve loved. To love is to be charitable; it is to go out of our space and comfort zone in order to reach out to those faced with deprivation and those in need of love and support.
Regarding being charitable to those in need; Jesus was pretty clear when he said, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” The period of Lent is a time the Church reminds us of the need to carry out the corporal works of mercy. These corporal works of mercy are what Jesus enumerated in the parable of today’s gospel: To feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and those in prison. Jesus alluded that to do this was to honour God.
So, when we carry out works of charity, physically it is an action of love towards others. But spiritually, it is an honour done to God of which we shall duly be rewarded. This is why the sentiments of people towards the good works we do should not deter us from doing what is right. When we do good and do not face criticism, then perhaps we have not done enough good works to unsettle the devil. When the devil sees that we are doing much to work out our salvation; he attacks us in different ways to stop us. We must therefore be mindful of those voices discouraging us not to be charitable. They are the voices of the evil one.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, help us with your grace not to relent as we work out our salvation through works of charity. Amen.