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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Lenten reflection, Ash Wednesday

homeless manWe always begin Lent with vigorous fervor. Then February ends and March rolls in. Easter arrives, and we all feel guilty because another Lent has come and gone, and we can’t even remember our Ash Wednesday resolutions.

This is the Year of Mercy, so why not use this season to practice the corporal works of mercy—to feed and give drink to the hungry, clothe, shelter, welcome, and visit. Lent is not only a time for looking within ourselves. It also gives us an opportunity to look outside to see and minister to all who are poor and in need.

Walter Cardinal Kasper, in his book Mercy (Paulist Press, 2014), refers to the Last Judgment parable of St. Matthew, chapter 25. He reminds us that we won’t be judged on how well we’ve kept the Ten Commandments.

Jesus says we will be judged on how we treated and ministered to those not as fortunate as we are. The final judgment will hinge on what we did or did not do for the least ones: “As often as you did it or did not do it to them, you did or did not do it to me,” Jesus said.

So if we want to have a good Lent, let’s practice the corporal works of mercy. Let’s not forget the poor.

Father John McGowan, C.Ss.R.
Long Branch, N.J.

Scripture readings for today: Joel 2:12-18; Psalm 51; 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18