First Reading: Isaiah 58:6-11
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am. “If you take away from the midst of you the yoke, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your desire with good things, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 107:2-9
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress; he led them by a straight way, till they reached a city to dwell in. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to the sons of men! For he satisfies him who is thirsty, and the hungry he fills with good things.
Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46
“When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,3and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, `Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’ And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left hand, `Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, `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 will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
There are people who die at a young age that accomplish more in their lifetime than I ever hope to achieve in mine. One such young man is Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati whose feast is celebrated today.
He took deeply to heart the words of Christ: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”
Although he came from a wealthy family, he himself was poor as nearly everything he had was given over to those in need for their well-being. He would even sacrifice his summer vacations so that he could be that someone at home to take care of the poor throughout the whole year.
He was politically and socially active, calling to task through words and actions those of his time who touted communist and fascist principles. He inspired others, especially his peers, in living out the faith and encouraged them through their daily struggles.
He was always thinking of and putting others before himself. And with a great joy in his heart.
He contracted poliomyelitis, likely from one of the sick he cared for. Just days before his death, his grandmother passed away. He spoke to no one of his illness and suffering during that time so that the family could focus on her. No one even knew he was sick until he was dying.
This heroic love that Bl. Pier Giorgio lived is one we are all called to. It would be difficult to call his life extraordinary, EXCEPT for the heroic love for God and neighbor he lived out. And isn’t that what really matters?
The ordinary is made extraordinary in the love of Christ.
“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your desire with good things, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.”[Tweet “The ordinary is made extraordinary in the love of Christ.”]
Let us seek to see in our neighbor the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned, and care for them as we would care for Christ. To live a life of ordinary love extraordinarily.
Laurel Muff is a creator and appreciator of beautiful things. She resides with her husband and daughters in Northern California. You can find more about her here.