Gospel: (Matthew 10:37-42)
Jesus said to his apostles: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me….And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because the little one is a disciple—amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”
The heart of the paschal mystery is dying and rising. Our own daily living can sometimes seem to have much more dying than rising. Even setting aside the issue of consciously choosing self-sacrifice, just the simple demands of our lives pull it out of us: feeding the infant in the middle of the night, ferrying the kids to soccer, helping with the homework when we are dog tired, cleaning the house and preparing meals, taking time to share some good thing with a spouse, calling and visiting an aging parent, helping the suffering and the poor. One of the great encouragements of this Sunday’s gospel is that all this behavior—like giving “a cup of cold water”—may seem small to us, but to God they are actions that correspond to those of Christ. The message is that our generosity is far surpassed by God’s generosity. (Living Liturgy, p.188)
To Vincent, a life of virtue was no accident. God gives the grace, but human effort is required to cultivate the virtue. Habits of charity, hopefulness, and justice are built, not just wished into being. Vincent knew that good intentions were insufficient responses to God’s grace. Virtue—a good habit, an inner readiness to accomplish moral good—had to become part of the fabric of life. For instance, by acting patiently over and over in trying situations, a person may learn patience. Virtues such as patience are important in the full living of the Christian life. Vincent constantly made concrete suggestions about how to develop virtue. From hard experience, he knew that definite dispositions had to be cultivated into the heart of the servant if the Gospels were to come alive through his or her hands. (McKenna, Praying with Vincent, p.70)
Discussion: (Share your thoughts on the readings after a moment of silence.)
What Vincentian virtues have you seen lived out in your Conference?
O God, you inspire the followers of Vincent to be virtuous,
-help us to serve always with respect and gentleness.
O God, you inspire the followers of Vincent to be servants of the poor,
-send us out in humility, simplicity and charity. Amen