Corporal Works of Mercy

Friends in Christ, as we are at the start of Lent, it is right that we should be making some promises to Jesus to do some self-denial, ‘give up something,’ as they say. But we should also examine ourselves with regard to our active good works.

In today’s gospel, Our Lord makes it very clear,  that there will be a judgment of each person;  the good will go to Paradise, the bad to everlasting fire.   Today he singles out something specific that will be part of that judgment:  ‘I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink’

Our salvation yes, requires Faith;  it requires baptism, that we go to Mass, follow the commandments –  but Our Lord here requires something else  –  it is what we call the Corporal works of mercy.

To feed the hungry:
Everyone needs bodily food;  it is an act of love to help others obtain bodily nourishment.  For this, we can bring food to our food pantry, or we might know personally someone who needs help with groceries. I do not recommend giving cash to those on the street, but I always carry a gift card from McDonalds or something to give out for food. If people need on-going food assistance,  tell them that the parish gives bags of groceries from the food pantry every Wednesday.

To clothe the naked:
Everyone needs clothing.  It is an act of love to help those who are without.  Bringing clothes to the needy is a great thing.  We can also donate to charities which help the needy around the world. We might consider tithing 10% of our money. We could give 5% to the Church, and 5% to a good charity.

Visit the imprisoned:
If we have a relative or someone we know in jail,  we should go visit them. Write to them. Our visit is the same as a visit from Jesus;  it shows them that even though they have to pay for a crime, God will forgive them and they are still loved.

Shelter the homeless:
We should know how to direct a person, especially in winter,  to a homeless shelter.  Thankfully, we have Vincent de Paul here,  and they can often direct a person to the right place. Some have even allowed a person to stay at their house.

Visit the sick:
We owe it to those who are sick, to visit them in the hospital,  or in nursing homes. People can feel very alone when they are sick.

Bury the Dead:
When someone we know dies, we should take off work and attend their funeral. This is our duty.  We should also visit cemeteries and pray daily for our beloved dead.

Christ expects us to do these things,  because whatever we do for the least of our brothers,  we are doing for Jesus.

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