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The presence of Christ in the disadvantaged people

Pope Francis will be unable to preside over Ash Wednesday services on March 2 because of acute knee pain, according to media reports. The pope’s doctor had “prescribed a period of greater rest for the leg” because of “acute gonalgia,” or knee pain, the Vatican explained in a note.

February 27, Monday of the First Week of Lent
Leviticus 19: 1-2. 11-18; Matthew 25:31-46

As we embark into our Lenten journey in this First week of Lent, we are invited to delve deeper into the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The readings of this Monday set the foundation for the third of these practices: the works of charity, founded on the faith that Christ is present in the person of our needy sisters and brothers: the hungry, the thirsty and the naked, the stranger and the homeless, the sick and the prisoners.

We search for the face of Christ in the skies, in the sacred scriptures, in novenas and traditional devotions. But the Gospel reading today is very explicit: ‘whatever you do to the least of your brothers and sisters, you do to me,’ says our Lord Jesus Christ.

The holy presence of Christ is offered to us in the disadvantaged people, and there are so many in our midst. The invitation for us is to recognize them and do something to ease their pain and suffering. Moreover, the Gospel also says very plainly what counts: not only what you do, but also what you omit to do.

There are perhaps so many opportunities presented to us to look out for and to look after our needy neighbor but we simply prefer to look the other way and find many excuses not to lend a helping hand.

Part of our struggle to be holy is to get out of ourselves and to mature in the sense of solidarity, to grow in awareness of and sensitivity to the needs of the poor. And Christ already motivates us why we should do this: because He is there, He identifies Himself with them!

Lent is a perfect time to open our eyes and reinforce this dimension of our Christian discipleship: grow a little more in care and compassion. Try to set aside a part of our time, maybe even a portion of our savings and earnings. Perhaps we can connect this to the practice of fasting too. Set aside a day of fasting this Lent and the money we save from this practice could be directed to some form of charity.


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.