Scripture Reading: Matthew 25:31 -46
Share this true story with me: “Early in the morning, still dark, a Jesuit Priest from Andhra Parish, was rushing to Blessed Mother Teresa’s home in Seconderabad to celebrate Mass there on 25,h December, 1990. A quick glance at his watch told him that he was going to be late. Though he had legitimate reason to be late, but could not be comfortable because of his addiction to punctuality, it was unbearably humiliating. As he rushed out of the convent, he discovered a human figure walking ahead of him. ‘ Increasing his speed, he discovered that it was a man in his thirties who was staked naked. The man was pleading to the people some ten feet ahead of him to please give him back his clothes. The naked man would say pleadingly, “Please give me back my clothes”. On a close look, he saw that one of the men was with a small bundle of crumpled clothes in his hands. Realizing that they were the clothes of the helpless naked man, he appealed to the three men to give back the clothes to the man. Sensing that would not yield and that he was going to be late to Mass by about fifteen minutes, he hurried away leaving the naked man unattended to. He could not wait to put an end to issue the Lord has presented to him that early morning. At 6:50am, he was at the altar to start the Mass and as he raised his hand to make the sign of the Cross, he found them heavy, his eyes began to be filled with tears, his voice choked, and he began to cry like a child in front of the Reverend Sisters. Jesus in the power of his Spirit reminded him, “I was naked but you did not cloth me” (Verse 44). The Priest felt very sober, and regretted that if only he had not been a slave to his fetish punctuality, he would have given him something to wear. Perhaps he could have taken him along to Blessed Mother Teresa who could have given him some clothes. Or he could have even bargained with those thugs for his clothes with the hundred Rupee notes he had in his pocket.”
Beloved in Christ, punctuality to occasion is a nice thing and good virtue whenever it is possible, but one should not be a slave to it; to the extent that one is unable to hear the word of Christ, ’I was naked and you did not cloth me’. It was a veiy painful experience and life-saving experience, the Priest was putting punctuality above God’s law. As Christians, the Lord provides opportunities of this nature to us. At times, we come across accident cases, but simply slow down, look at the crowd, meander our way out of tne scene and zoom off; may be rushing to meet up with other engagements, or for fear of being interrogated by the Police. Some may even pass by, because they would not want the seats of their vehicles to be stained with blood. The king would reply thus, “I tell you whenever you refused to help one of these least important ones, you refuse to help me” (Verse 45). Unlike the Priest in our story, let us endeavour to be attentive to the presence of Christ around us. The face of Jesus is everywhere, in the hospitals, highways and byways, market places, playgrounds, schools, public establishments etc.
- Take a worship song as you are led
- Consider all the times you put your own pleasure and comfort above that of the Lord. Pray and repent
- Pray for Priests/Religious and all ministers of God who tend to be selective in the administration of their pastoral duties
- Pray against the evil spirit of hypocrisy and pride
- Pray for Police men/women who extort money or illegal rewards from motorists, individuals and groups; that the good Lord may touch their hearts
- Pray for government officers who use public funds for their pleasures
- Thank God for touching the heart of the Priest.
Exercise: Share this reflection with someone today.
Memory Verse: Matthew 25:45.