Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18; Matthew 25:31-46
The Least among Us
This much we knew. That God finds us in solitude, sacraments, the beauty of nature, old friends, the support of family, when cynicism gives way to solidarity and action. Familiar or drab surroundings can break into color. An ordinary day can yield awareness and gratitude. I step out the door and realize that I’m alive and how much it matters to be here.
Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11
Lent seems to be a time when scripture and the Church call us to look closely at ourselves, even to seek out our darkness and our shortcomings. Today’s readings bring me face to face with the darkness of my temptations. I’m painfully aware that others would be horrified by my struggles and temptations. But, my faith must be grounded, not in others’ opinions and judgements, but in the knowledge that God and his love are greater than whatever sin any of us commit.
Born in Magnacavallo in the Diocese of Mantova in Italy, Clea was the youngest in a family of seven. In the late forties Clea with a group of other Italian girls came to England to work in the cotton mills in Rochdale. At that time the local Italian community used to meet in the Convent in Rochdale on Sundays for Mass in Italian. It was here that Clea got to know the Pallottine Missionary Sisters and in September 1952 she joined our Congregation. She received the religious name Sr. Maria Stella. She made her First Profession on 22.08.1955 and her Final Profession on 15.08.1961.
Sr. Eva Hunold was born in Olpe, Germany. When she was four years old, her mother died. After completing elementary school, and a one-year sewing course, she attended a private commercial school, which she completed successfully. The decision to follow Christ as a religious matured in her at an early age. On October 1, 1947, Eva Hunold entered the candidacy of the Pallottine Sisters in Limburg. Her desire was to serve God as a missionary. In February 1951 she began her postulancy and on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, Eva received the religious habit and the name Sr. Maria Ignazis.
Isaiah 58:9b-14; Luke 5:27-32
There he goes again, upsetting the order of things. Jesus had been very busy healing the sick, forgiving sins and irritating the Pharisees. They were the ones that were hung up on order and structure, particularly since they were the ones at the top of the order. When Jesus came along, they were no longer the ones at the center of attention---the ones to whom others looked to for guidance and authority. Now the ones at the center of attention were the sinners. . . . tax collectors and crooks, the very dregs of society. Jesus had just encountered Levi, known in the community as a despised tax collector. Those in that profession were known for their scandalous practices, extorting money from the poor, skimming off the top and giving the rest to the Romans. And to everyone’s amazement Jesus chose to go to dinner at Levi’s house. . . a party big enough that they were spread throughout the courtyard. It was a party of crooks and sinners, in plain view of everyone. The Pharisees, who had not been invited to the party, loitered around the periphery, complaining about Jesus eating and drinking with the dregs of society, the very ones they took great pains to stay away from.
Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Luke 9:22-25
“Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” -- Luke 9
In two paragraphs, today’s Gospel gives us a summary of the life of following Jesus. It will not always be easy and it requires living in a different way than others in the world.
Christian history is filled with people who sacrificed their lives for their faith, but for most of us, “losing our life” does not mean physical dying as we try to live out this life as followers of Jesus. The way most of us “lose our life” is much less dramatic, much less memorable, much more … everyday. How area we being asked to give ourselves away in the here and now?
Isaiah 58:1-9; Matthew 9:14-15
What a great reminder for the beginning of Lent. According to today’s first reading, from the Prophet Isaiah, there is a right way and a wrong way to fast. It’s a wonderful and challenging passage that has applications far beyond this one religious act (fasting). As Isaiah puts it here, the right way to fast is really a way to be genuinely religious and, for the Christian, adequately to imitate Christ.
First, how NOT to fast -- that would be to be so focused on ourselves that we can’t really see beyond ourselves. Isaiah’s words excoriate those who (allegedly) fast and yet “drive all your laborers,” and let their fasting end in “quarreling and fighting, striking with a wicked claw.”
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of our Lenten journey with Christ, when we walk the road to Jerusalem; the road that leads to the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Saviour. It is a time for reflection and for action; a time for faith and works. We do not journey alone, and it is fitting that we begin together marked by the sign of sinfulness and of hope: the ashes. ‘Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return’. In these words of Genesis we are reminded of our mortality, a mortality we owe to sin; however, we are also reminded that from the ashes of death we will rise to a new life, a life everlasting. From darkness comes light; from death there is life; these ashes represent the seed ground from which we can be born anew.
From February 15-22, 2020, in Kibeho, Rwanda, the 4th Regional Chapter was held under the theme Reconciliation with God - 2 Cor 5,20. The Chapter gathered 15 sisters delegates who, during the meeting, working in groups and praying, discussed the most important matters of the Region. From the General Councillors took part in the Chapter: Sr. Anna Małdrzykowska and Sr. Liberata Nyiongira.
1st of February 2020 is a day that the Pallottine Family and people of Cape Town, South Africa will always remember. It was a day when many people of different faiths, races and professions, gathered in St. Vincent Pallotti Convent to say goodbye to their dear Sister Annemarie Niehsen, a German Missionary, who after her 52 years of life and service in South Africa returned to her homeland. They came to express their gratitude, friendship and appreciation for her tireless service in the hospital as a sister for all, for her fidelity to the Lord and love for our Founder St. Vincent Pallotti through living her religious vows, ministry and her dedication in building a better world and future.