Day 265: Sins of omission

Matthew 25:1-13 This parable reminds us that we must be waiting and watchful for the Second Coming of Christ so we will be ready to greet him when he comes in glory.

Bridegroom: The image of a bridegroom or spouse is often used as a metaphor to describe the relationship between Christ and his Church. (CCC 672, 796, 1618)

Ch 25:14-30 The Parable of the Talents teaches that, even though we do not each receive the same amount of gifts, we must make good use of what we have been given by God. If we are to be true disciples, we cannot simply bide our time on earth and ignore the need to grow in many deeds of love, especially in service to others. Though this parable is wide in scope in its application, it certainly applies to a growth in charity through personal effort for charity to increase. (CCC 546, 1029, 1720, 1936)

Ch 25:31-46 Actions that provide for the physical or spiritual needs of others are called “works of mercy,” They are extensions of the second greatest commandment to love our neighbor. The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats sends a powerful message that we have an obligation to assist  and care for those in need. In fact, we will be judged according to how much we have helped others both materially and spiritually. Church tradition recognizes seven Corporal Works of Mercy (feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the imprisoned, visiting the sick, burying the dead) and seven Spiritual Works of Mercy (admonishing the sinner, instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful, bearing wrongs patiently, forgiving injuries, comforting the sorrowful, praying for the living and the dead) (cf. CCC 2447). (CCC 331-332, 678-679, 1033-1038, 1932, 2463)

Ch 25:31 The Second Coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, the Last Judgment, and the eternal nature of Heaven and Hell are defined dogmas of the Church. (CCC 678, 679, 682, 1038-1041)

Ch 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me food…: Christ, who was born into poverty and took on our human sufferings, identifies himself with the poor and needy. He is present in a special way in the “least of our brothers and sisters.” His own compassion and care for the suffering is continued in the lives of all his followers. (CCC 544, 1373, 1503)

Ch 25:46 And they will go away into eternal punishment...eternal life: If we do not recognize Christ in the hungry, the homeless, the sick, the ignorant, and others in need, and if we fail to respond with compassion and works of mercy, then he will not recognize us as members of his flock. By such sins of omission, our Lord makes it clear that we are liable to severe judgment. (CCC 1033, 2443)

Ch 26:1-5 The enemies of Christ were afraid of the people’s regard for him; therefore, arresting him with the intent to have him executed could have put them in a precarious position. The conspiracy against him would have to be well crafted and coordinated. (CCC 574-576)

Ch 26:6-16 The act of anointing Christ’s feet with an expensive ointment was similar to a Jewish custom among the well-to-do of anointing the body of the newly deceased in preparation for burial. The woman’s gesture of anointing was thus a prefigurement of Christ’s own Death and Burial. The disciples who complained about what they saw as a waste of money failed to see in the anointing an expression of love, humility, and affirmation of his dignity. John identified the chief objector as Judas (cf. Jn 12:4). (CCC 597)

Ch 26:17-25 Passover, which commemorates the Israelites’ liberation from slavery in Egypt, is the first day of the weeklong Feast of Unleavened Bread. The feast involved, among other things, the ritual, bloody sacrifice of a spotless lamb for a meal that included unleavened bread and wine. During one of these celebrations, which became known as the Last Supper, Christ identified his betrayer, Judas, but did not restrain him. Judas’s betrayal would be incorporated into God the Father’s plan for his Son’s redemptive Sacrifice. (CCC 610)

Ch 26:26-29 Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it: These words, which accompanied the breaking of the bread, were used twice before by Christ at the multiplication of the loaves and fishes (cf. Mt 14:19; 15:36), which prefigured the institution of the Eucharist. Here, Christ appropriated part of the Jewish Passover meal to institute the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. 

This is my blood...forgiveness of sins: Christ is the sinless and spotless Lamb of God who would give his life in sacrifice for the sins of the world. Through his words and actions at the Last Supper and his command to continue this celebration, Christ also instituted the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

I shall not drink it Father’s kingdom: The ultimate fulfillment of the Passover will take place in the glory of Heaven, the ultimate perfection of the Kingdom of God. Christ’s words, “This is my body...this is my blood,” are unequivocal; this has been the constant teaching of the Church. The Sacrifice of Our Lord on the Cross is continuously made present by means of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. The bishop or priest, obeying Christ’s command and using the same words of consecration used by Christ, makes him really and substantially present on the altar through the work of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Christ is really and fully received in our Holy Communion, by which the faithful are spiritually  nourished. The change of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ at the moment of consecration is referred to as “transubstantiation,” and the presence of Christ’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist is called the “Real Presence.” (CCC 613, 1328-1329, 1365-1366, 1402-1403, 1846)

Ch 26:29 The Church refers to the “fruit of the vine…[which] will become our spiritual drink” during the Offertory at Mass. Wine symbolizes joy and love, which is a principal effect of receiving the Eucharist. Wine also symbolizes blood, which points to the Passion of our Lord made present sacramentally in the Mass. (CCC 1334)

Ch 26:36-46 In the hours before his arrest and crucifixion, Christ prayed for strength to fulfill the divine plan of his Passion and Death. His apprehension was real as he asked his Father, “Let this cup pass,” but he submitted completely to his Father’s will, obedient even unto death. Prayer does not merely consist in “asking” things from God but, more importantly, obtaining the grace to identify God’s will and strength to bear our cross (CCC 612). 

Watch and pray...flesh is weak: The battle between flesh and spirit is a lifelong struggle for all the faithful. Remaining on guard against temptation requires prayer. (CCC 2719, 2733, 2756, 2846)

Ch 26:47-57 Put your sword back: Although he could have called down his angels for protection, Christ chose not to defend himself against those about to arrest him. God allowed the unjust betrayal and execution of his only Son in order to bring about the redemption of the world. There is a paradox here in that all of the people involved in the Crucifixion of Christ, including Judas, played a part in the Father’s plan to redeem the world. Christ’s admonition, “Put your sword back,” stresses that the Kingdom of God grows not through violence but through love. (CCC 333, 600, 609, 2262)

Ch 26:50 Friend, why are you here?: By calling him “friend,” Christ gave Judas one more chance to repent and reflect on the gravity of his sin. (CCC 1851)

Ch 26:58 Peter followed him at a distance: This verse follows the description of Peter’s failure to stay awake in the Garden of Gethsemane. This seemingly incidental statement conveys the deep truth that only through habitual, prolonged prayer can we follow Christ closely. (CCC 2854)

Ch 26:57-68 Christ was brought before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish high court. 

I am able to three days: His listeners thought he was referring to the Temple building, but Christ actually meant the temple of his body, which would be raised up again on the third day. When Caiaphas, the high priest, asked Jesus, under oath, if he was the Messiah, Son of God, he assented to the title. The Sanhedrin now had evidence to convict him of blasphemy, a capital offense under the Mosaic Law. (CCC 443, 591, 596, 663)

Ch 26:69-75 Peter’s overconfidence in his own courage and his lack of recourse to prayer led him to deny his relationship with Christ. As Christ predicted, Peter denied him three times. In contrast to Judas’s despair (cf. Mt 27:1-10), Peter’s true remorse and contrition led to a moving reconciliation with Christ. (CCC 1429)

Proverbs 19:21 While people can propose plans, their actual fulfillment depends on God. In concert with human freedom, God’s will is always accomplished. (CCC 303)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we thank you and we give you praise. Lord God, you gave your Son out of love for us. And your Son willingly gave his life out of love for us. Even in the midst of betrayal, he continued to love. He continued to give. Even though he knew, Lord, he knew the betrayal of the disciples, and he knew our own betrayal. And yet, he chose to give. And he chose to love. Lord God, help us always to receive that love. Help us always to allow ourselves to be chosen, to allow ourselves to be yours. You have bought us at a price. Help us to live that way, this day and every day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”