By Father Bill Malloy, Mercy Associate

Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?”

Matthew 25:37-39

Art by Sister Renee Yann

There are many ways to measure the success of a life: length of days, the value of one’s investment portfolio, the summary of one’s academic or professional achievements. Perhaps these are the way the world evaluates a person’s accomplishments and honors them accordingly.

But God measures our lives by very different and far simpler criteria: how much we have loved and how well we have used the gifts we have been given.

In Jesus’ parable of the Sheep and the Goats, feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, clothing the naked and visiting the sick are of utmost importance. They are best accomplished as a matter of daily routine and without seeking reward.

Such are the moments of grace that don’t win medals or grab headlines. What’s the big deal about a kind word, or a knock on the door, or going out of your way, or listening patiently or treating someone with respect? The only reason for doing these things is a genuine concern for people in need.

Perhaps no one else will take note, but for Jesus, these acts of faith make all the difference. For Jesus, the true measure of life is not the critical but the casual moment, not the big but the little things.

Father Bill’s reflection is based on the scripture readings for Monday of the First Week of Lent and was adapted with permission from the Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community’s Lenten 2019 Reflection Booklet.

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