Sunday, March 7, 2010


“St. John of God”
by Pedro Nolasco y Lara, 1700’s


Biographical Information about St. John of God[1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. John of God

Readings and Commentary:

1 John 3:14-18

We know that we have passed from death to life
because we love our brothers.
Whoever does not love remains in death.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer,
and you know that anyone who is a murderer
does not have eternal life remaining in him.
The way we came to know love
was that he laid down his life for us;
so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
If someone who has worldly means
sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion,
how can the love of God remain in him?
Children, let us love not In word or speech
but in deed and truth.
Commentary on
1 Jn 3:14-18

St. John continues his narrative on righteousness and love in this passage. Note he has not really focused on what he considers to be the central teaching of Christ – love one another. In this particular section he begins with the comparison from scripture of Cain and Abel (
Genesis 4:1-16). He brings that analogy to why the world, in his eyes intrinsically evil, hates the Christian community, who are good because they love each other.

CCC: 1 Jn 3:15 1033; 1 Jn 3:17 2447
Psalm 112:1bc-2, 3-4, 5-7a, 7b-8, 9

R. (1) Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Wealth and riches shall be in his house;
his generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice;
He shall never be moved;
the just man shall be in everlasting remembrance.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

An evil report he shall not fear.
His heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear
till he looks down upon his foes.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Lavishly he gives to the poor,
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
Commentary on
Ps 112:1bc-2, 3-4, 5-7a, 7b-8, 9

This hymn of praise and thanksgiving from Psalm 112 commends the people faithful to the Law of Moses. The one who is blameless in the eyes of God has nothing to fear those from his community or others since the Lord is his protector. A repeating theme is the praise of those who are generous to the poor and poor in spirit.

Matthew 25:31-40

Jesus said to his disciples:
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
'Come, you who are blessed by 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,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.'
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
'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?'
And the king will say to them in reply,
'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.'"
Commentary on
Mt 25:31-40

Jesus, in this reading, is telling his disciples what will be judged at the end times, the eschaton. The reading provides a vision of what will be asked of those seeking admittance to the Kingdom of God and how judgment will be passed. This image is used as a teaching tool, to focus those who wish to follow Jesus on loving those who are in need of help; the hungry, the stranger, the naked, the ill, the imprisoned.

CCC: Mt 25:31-46 544, 1033, 1373, 2447, 2831; Mt 25:31-36 2443; Mt 25:31 331, 671, 679, 1038; Mt 25:32 1038; Mt 25:36 1503; Mt 25:40 678, 1397, 1825, 1932, 2449

If we look forward to receiving God's mercy, we can never fail to do good so long as we have the strength. For if we share with the poor, out of love for God, whatever he has given to us, we shall receive according to his promise a hundredfold in eternal happiness. What a fine profit, what a blessed reward! Who would not entrust his possessions to this best of merchants, who handles our affairs so well? With outstretched arms he begs us to turn toward him, to weep for our sins, and to become the servants of love, first for ourselves, then for our neighbors. Just as water extinguishes a fire, so love wipes away sin.” - From a letter by St. John of God

It is this attitude, expressed so beautifully by St. John of God in his letter that tells us how to live the Gospel of Christ – who is love. Time and again the Lord calls us to put on his mind, to take up his cross. And what is that cross? It is the cross of those who need us, those less fortunate, in trouble or need, sick or in prison. This call to love our brothers and sisters, celebrated in the psalms and described by St. John in his letter, is what defines us as Christians.

We call out to St. John on this his feast day. He is the patron of those who are ill and those with addictions. We pray that through his intercession we too may put on the love of Christ and help those in need.


[1] The picture is “St. John of God” by Pedro Nolasco y Lara, 1700’s
[2] The readings are taken from the New American Bible with the exception of the Psalm and its response which were developed by the International Committee for English in Liturgy (ICEL). This re-publication is not authorized by USCCB and is for private use only.

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