Post by Admin on Feb 19, 2018 8:25:40 GMT
MONDAY IN THE FIRST WEEK OF LENT
LESSON. (Ezech. xxxiv. n — 16.) Thus saith the Lord God: Behold I myself will seek my sheep, and will visit them. As the shepherd visiteth his flock, in the day when he shall be in the midst of his sheep that were scattered: so will I visit my sheep, and will deliver them out of all the places, where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the peoples, and will gather them out of the countries, and will bring them to their own land: and I will feed them in the mountains of Israel, by the rivers, and in all the habitations of the land. I will feed them in the most fruitful pastures, and their pastures shall be in the high mountains of Israel: there shall they rest on the green grass, and be fed in fat pastures upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed my sheep: and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God. I will seek that which was lost, and that which was driven away, I will bring again, and I will bind up that which was broken, and I will strengthen that which was weak, and that which was fat and strong, I will preserve: and I will feed them in judgment, saith the Lord Almighty.
EXPLANATION. After these words to the Jews, to whom God promised, that He would free them from the Babylonian captivity, and then pasture and protect them like a good pastor, the prophet describes, in a higher sense, the time when all nations will be united in one fold, under one shepherd, namely, Christ Jesus. These words may be applied, at the same time, to a soul, which by a true conversion has been released from the power of Satan by the Good Shepherd, Jesus, who has followed it everywhere, and is now carefully nourished by Him, by His word and His blessed Sacraments and filled with heavenly consolations. Hasten back to Him, O Christian soul, if you have strayed away from Jesus, the Good Shepherd; He will receive you joyfully, and give you His love!
GOSPEL. (Matt. xxxv. 31 — 46.) At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: When the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty: and all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry, and you gave me to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: naked, and you clothed me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and feed thee: thirsty, and gave thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in: or naked, and covered thee? Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me. Then shall he say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me you cursed into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink: I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick, and in prison, and you did not visit me. Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord when did we see thee hungry or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee? Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me. And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.
EXPLANATION. From the words of this gospel we see how necessary it is to be charitable to the poor, since Jesus gives such great reward to the charitable, and so severely punishes those who do not practise this virtue. St. Francis the Seraph says: “In the poor Christ reveals Himself to us as in a mirror; as often, therefore, as a poor or feeble person meets you, remember the poverty and weakness Christ took upon Himself for us, and revere in him Christ Himself, who says: As long as you did it to one of these least in my name, you did it to me."