Thursday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time
(I Corinthians 1:1-9; Matthew 24:42-51)
The prison chaplain was warning volunteers about doing favors for inmates. He said that they must be especially careful not to take anything from a prisoner to be mailed outside. Rather, he emphasized, they should show by the witness of their presence in the name of Christ that he suffered a kind of hell so that the prisoners as well as everyone else might not be deprived of heaven. This is the same message that Paul relates in his long letter to the Corinthians whose beginning we have in the first reading today.
One hundred years ago today Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, whom the world came to know as “Mother Teresa,” was born in the Ottoman Empire. As much as anyone in the last century she gave witness to Christ’s death on behalf of others. Recent revelations have shown that Mother Teresa’s sojourn was full of doubt as well as works of mercy. Although this fact has troubled some people, it consoles others. We now know better that the questions challenging belief do not put us outside the company of saints. Rather, faced with the will to follow Christ unreservedly, they constitute part of the death to self that leads to eternal life.