Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
God loves a cheerful giver. I love this phrase from Corinthians, not just in its meaning for alms and good works. God doesn’t just mean that we smile when we write out a check or grin when we drop off clothes at Goodwill (thought I think that’s a good idea too.) When I think of God loves a cheerful giver, it reminds me of finding God in all things, in our day-to-day lives -- not only when we are in church or praying or performing service. I want to be a cheerful giver among my co-workers, my neighbors, the woman at the checkout line at the grocery store.
“. . . love your enemies . . .”.
Almost everyone is familiar with that command. And almost everybody thinks that, while perhaps an ideal, it is hopelessly unrealistic. Maybe. But maybe some context might help us understand how central this really is to being Christian.
What, after all, does it mean to be Christian? Not to save ourselves, as perhaps we once thought. God has done that for us. No, our job is to continue the work of Jesus – the Jesus who called people to change their priorities and submit to God’s gentle reign. Christians are a community of disciples, having disciple roles, and doing disciple work.
“Offer no resistance to injury . . . turn the other cheek.” These phrases are among the most famous and most difficult of any which the Gospels record as coming from the lips of Jesus. If we listen to them long enough to really hear them, before being frightened off by them, we usually hear in them an admonition to passivity in the face of conflict.
At the beginning of this year, after more than 28 years of my work in the parish of São Raimundo in Codó, I was transferred to the neighboring town of Timbiras, where on February 16th of this year the Mass was held, during which I was officially introduced to the new parish by the diocesan Bishop Dom Sebastião. I live here alone in a parish house and make my first steps in the new parish. The parish gave me a very warm welcome.
Timbiras is the Pallottine cradle of Maranhão. Here, exactly forty years ago, the Pallottine Sisters Mathilde, Rita and Christina began their missionary Pallottine work in the spirit of St. Vincent Pallotti, proclaiming and living the apostolate of all the baptized, building up countless groups and lay movements. To this day the parish is inspired by this spirit and the Pallottine Sisters continue to work tirelessly to awaken, promote and deepen the apostolic spirit of co-responsibility of all the baptized in the Church and in the world.
Ex 19:2-6a; Rom 5:6-11; Mt 9:36-10:8
Therefore, if you hearken to my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my special possession, ...
You shall be to me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.
God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
As you go, make this proclamation: ' The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give."
I love to reflect upon Jesus, choosing his twelve apostles. It reminds me of so much of what attracts me to Jesus and it helps renew me in the call of my baptism.
▪ Pope Francis renewed his invitation for people of all faiths to unite in prayer, fasting, and works of charity on Thursday, 14 May for an end to the Covid-19 pandemic. Pallottine Sisters in Rome and all over the world have responded to this invitation.
1 Kings 19:19-21; Matthew 5:33-37
Today's scripture readings are about trust. Elisha kills the cow, burns the plow, kisses mom and dad good-bye and then follows Elijah. I'm not sure what mom and dad thought about all of this, but Elisha obviously trusted Elijah. The psalmist sings that his heart is glad, his soul rejoices and his body abides in confidence. His joy comes from trusting God. And Jesus tells his disciples "Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no," no oaths or vows. He calls them to a change from the status quo. To trust him.
Photo by Łysakowski Wiesław
1 Kings 19:9a, 11-16; Matthew 5:27-32
In the Gospel we encounter Jesus preaching to his disciples about moral teachings in Jewish Law. This section of the Gospel according to Matthew is known as the “antitheses”, where Jesus names a biblical teaching and not only does he express agreement with it but he also goes a step further and invites his disciples to go deeper into the spirit of that moral teaching: “You have heard that it was said…, But I say to you…” These “antitheses”, are not really so, since Jesus does not express an opposition to the Jewish Law, like the word antithesis suggests, but an invitation to go further into the spirit of that Law, which had been given by God as a covenant with God’s people, Israel.
Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14-16; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; John 6:51-58
Imagine Jesus speaking to each of us today. Imagine him, risen in Glory, speaking to us.
I want to give you life - to give your life real freedom and joy - and a life that will last for ever. I want to take away your fear of dying. I invite you to make your home in me - now. Your home will be in me forever.
Let me make my home in your heart. Let me feed you. I've given my life for you. I've shown you that you, too, can give your life away and be free to love as I have loved you. Let this self-sacrificing example of love nourish you.