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Works of Mercy for Victims of Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami

By Deacon Keith A. Fournier
March 15th, 2011
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

'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.'

CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - One of the most sobering passages in the New Testament is found in the Gospel of St. Matthew. Jesus is addressing the Last Judgment: "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?

(Japan Earthquake Appeal: Help those affected by the earthquake in Japan. We are accepting donations to support our online support efforts in Japan and worldwide. Please donate to help survivors of this emergency. Click Here to Donate - https://www.catholic.org/donation/ )

"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 these least brothers of mine, you did for me.' (Matthew 25: 31 - 40)

As we continue on our Lenten pilgrimage, world events have presented us with an opportunity to live what we pledged when we came forward on Ash Wednesday to receive those ashes. The devastating earthquake and tsunami which hit the people of Japan and affected some in Hawaii and beyond, presents us with a real and tangible invitation to a Lenten response of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

Our Catholic Faith calls us to live the "Corporal Works of Mercy". They are to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit those in prison and bury the dead. The Catechism of the Catholic Church expounds: "The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities. Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead". (CCC #2247)

The teaching of Jesus is clear. He is identified with all who suffer. We must be as well. We invite our readers throughout the world to join with us in ongoing prayer, fasting and almsgiving for the afflicted and the grieving. We invite you to join with those who are giving to assist those who have suffered. We invite you to join with us in this Prayer:

Father,

We come to you in the name of your Son Jesus Christ. We ask for your loving Mercy and kindness toward all who suffer as a result of the Earthquake, Tsunami and aftershocks which have devastated the people of Japan.

Lord, for those who lost their lives, and those who mourn them, we ask for your loving mercy.

Lord, for those who were wounded, we ask for healing and help.

Lord, for those reaching out to the wounded, give them the supernatural graces, and the practical and economic resources they need in their efforts.

Lord, for those who are searching for the dead, assist them in their effort so that all who lost their lives in this tragedy can be buried with dignity.

We also pray also for those who were affected by this horrible disaster in Hawaii and those who are ministering to their needs.

Father, may this natural disaster and true human tragedy become an invitation for your people to enter into the ongoing mission of reaching out to all of the poor and seeing in their face and in their need the face of your Son.

During this Lent, we say "Yes" to your invitation to practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. May this human tragedy become for your people an occasion of grace and invitation to love.

We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord

Amen  

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