Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday of the First Week of Lent

Leviticus 19: 1-2, 11-18, Psalm 19, Matthew 25: 31-46

The best known of the several judgment passages in the New Testament, often known as the “Parable of the Sheep and the Goats,” this passage from Matthew is most often thought of primarily as a sinister warning to those who ignore the needy and oppressed among us. For me it is a message of hope. The “righteous” are unselfconscious and unaware that in serving their neighbor in need they are serving Christ in that neighbor.

The Protestant, Puritan being which inhabits me asks, “How may I work to get to that place where I serve others without being aware of Christ in their midst. Note the word “WORK.” My question is the wrong question. Being in the presence of Christ in our neighbor in need is not a matter of work. Jesus Christ graciously gives us the gift of his presence. He is present in our neighbor waiting for us. We seek the opportunity. Christ is there when we arrive. Jesus also surrounds us with the opportunities. A parish such as St. Paul’s has an opportunity to fit each of us.

Charles Perry

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