Memorial of Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church
By Mary Jo Barr
Alleluia COR 8:9 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Jesus Christ became poor although he was rich so that by his poverty you might become rich. R. Alleluia, alleluia. Gospel MT 19:23-30 Jesus said to his disciples: "Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God." When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible." Then Peter said to him in reply, "We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?" Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first." REFLECTION
“Jesus Christ became poor although he was rich so that by his poverty you might become rich.” (Cor 8:9)
When I was a little girl, I never thought of myself as poor. My parents loved their five children and never did we see their struggle to make ends meet. I only found out later when I was older that my parents always lived in rented homes and that my Dad worked extra jobs when finances were tight. And once I peaked into my mother’s closet and was shocked to see that she only had a couple of dresses in it.
The happy things that I remember were family picnics on Memorial Day in Audubon Park, walking and praying during Lent while visiting the 7 Catholic Churches in our area (a New Orleans Catholic Tradition), visiting my grandparents and cousins across the river, helping my mom when God finally answered our prayers for a little brother, and then another little brother.
I remember always being happy. We were happy because of the love we received from our parents and the closeness of our extended families. I really felt like I was rich. Could it be that love made me rich?
When I read the Alleluia verse, I thought about how much Jesus loves us; loves me. He left heaven and became a helpless baby, born in a stable, into poverty. He was rich and became poor to make us rich, me rich.
The richness that Jesus gives all of us is His unconditional and unfathomable love. He continues to give Himself to us in the Holy Eucharist!
Could we spread God’s love to others who are poor? Can we show love to the poor by giving of ourselves?
Let us live the PAPA Way and care for the poor. Let us help our PAPA Priests who work with the poor and needy with what ever means: prayers, money, food, or whatever talents we can offer. Please, Pray our PAPA Prayer for Priests.