A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 22:34-40
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a scholar of the law, tested him by asking, "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He said to him, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."
REFLECTION: "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart,with all your soul, and with all your mind.This is the greatest and the first commandment.The second is like it:You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
We should be willing to say goodbye to ourselves and embrace God with all we have. We are reminded to give our love, life, and work to those around us. When we see people, such as Bartimaeus yelling to Jesus for mercy, we are made aware of his importance because God stopped, stood still and called out to Bartimaeus. You see, Bartimaeus was someone's son-he was the son of Timaeus. He had been a gift given by God to Timaeus. And now he was on the street, begging for help and mercy. And Jesus stopped, stood still and healed him.
We are all the "apple of God's eye." Though we live a prodigal life, we are God's beloved. We, the beloved, who are broken vessels, with faults, wounds, bad humor, bad health, filthy hair, and smelly breath.
A perfect example of love of the poor is Saint Father Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga, Jesuit priest from Chile (died 1952). He ministered to the poor, many times driving in his 1946 green pickup truck, giving out provisions to the hungry and homeless. He published a book "Is Chile a Catholic Country?" as there was a shortage of priests and he advocated for more vocations. He founded Hogar de Cristo (Home of Christ) as shelters for children in need of food and a secure place to sleep.
PAPA was established in 2017 to pray for priests in fulfilling their duties, ministries and vocation and to see them on fire for Jesus and His Church. We accepted the call of Jesus to go out and make disciples. Then the Church clergy scandal followed and PAPA has been there praying for and loving our priests. Our family has grown into kindred spirits spreading prayer, service and blessings to many. We have organized our prayers into one giant force. We have helped the poor and the homeless by way of PAPA Joe's work for the children of Venezuela. We have clothed the homeless during our Christmas clothing drive -- PAPA Homeless. Several times a month a faithful group of prayer warriors risk the weather and fatigue and pray in front of Planned Parenthood for PAPA Pro Life. Everyone we encounter is a gift from God and deserving of God's great mercy.
We should love God "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Thank you -- Saint Father Hurtado for being one of many saints who dedicated their lives to God and to their fellow man, showing us how to love your neighbor as yourself.