Rev. Fr. Leo E. Schmitt was given the 29th Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Award held at the Yuchengco Museum, RCBC, Makati Ciity, September 26, 2016


Manila, Philippines — Saint Teresa’s life is “an epitome of grace, compassion and love”.
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Award (BTCA) is an annual award given to selfless individuals who have served the poorest of the poor as inspired by the life of the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
The 29th Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Award (BTCA) recognizes German-Filipino priest Rev. Fr. Leo Schmitt, SVD, as this year’s winner for dedicating his life to helping the marginalized poor communities and informal settlers in the Philippines for the past 40 years.


Rev. Fr. Leo Schmitt, SVD

Fr. Leo started his advocacy in the 1970s when the worsening economic and political situation in the country has pushed the Catholic Church to respond to the needs of the people.

He founded ‘Action Leaven,’ a non-profit organization that seeks to serve the underprivileged communities in the country, which was adopted by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) with Fr. Leo serving as Executive Director for two years, until it was turned over to the Archdiocese of Manila.


“Though restricted by old age, Fr. Schmitt remains a vibrant and enthusiastic inspiration for all the clergy, both diocesan and religious. His life of simplicity, faithfulness, humility and pastoral service is his best contribution to the mission,”Antipolo Diocesan Bishop Gabriel Reyes describes Fr. Leo.


“Through the generosity of various organizations, Fr. Leo receive a trophy and a cash prize of Php500,000. Fr. Leo’s chosen charity will also receive a cash prize of Pho500,000, and an additional Php500,000 worth of goods and services. We believe that these gifts will go a long way in helping Fr. Leo’s chosen advocacy,” says Gio Valencia, 2016 BTCA Chairman.

Mel Aguinaldo, creative artist, designed the 2016 “Saint Teresa of Calcutta” award given to German-Filipino priest Rev. Fr. Leo E. Schmitt

This year is monumental for the BTCA organization as Mother Teresa has been declared a Saint by Pope Francis on Sunday at a canonization ceremony held in Vatican City. The canonization on September 4 comes on the eve of her 19th death anniversary.

BTCA is a joint project of the AY Foundation and the JCI Philippines-Manila, which aims to refocus the public’s attention to those who have dedicated their lives to the service of others.







Fr. Leo, the disciplinarian formator turned social worker…super energetic founder of communities and housing for the poor… with a huge heart for the poor!


He was born in Grunebach, Diocese of Trier in West Germany on May 9, 1928. He studied and was ordained in Germany in 1954. He is now 88 years old, and 62 years as a priest. He still at work, and refuses to be included among the retirees at the Villa Cristo Rey. He has indeed, done incredibly great corporal works of mercy!


After ordination, he went to England and for several years, he stayed at the St. Richard’s College for Foreign Missions before coming to the Philippines. (1958-60).


He was assigned for formation work, first at the Mary Help of Christians Diocesan Seminary in Binmaley, Pangasinan as prefect of the seminarians (1961-62).


Next, Christ the King Mission Seminary became his home for 35 years. (1962- 1997).


He was professor and prefect of the College seminarians (1962-70)


In 1970, his life changed dramatically, as he became more aware of the need to get involved in social work, a post Vatican II development. In the Philippine context, the need was more urgent because of the worsening economic and political situation. This was the time of violent activism, with the onset of the First Quarter Storm. The Church had to respond, and Fr. Leo proposed to start a project called ‘Action Leaven’, a movement for church people, to penetrate society and find out what the Church can do for the poor. The pioneer group of Leaveners was composed of 70 priests, nuns, seminarians, community organizers, engineers and agriculturist among others. It was adopted by CBCP as an experiment for the Archdiocese of Manila. Fr. Leo was its executive Director for 2 years, before it was turned over to the Archdiocese. The timing was unfortunate, because when Martial Law was declared by Marcos in 1972, social work was greatly hampered by government policies. Fr. Leo, however, had been magnetized to work with the poor.


Shortly after leaving the Action Leaven, some 800 families sought his help after being forced to leave the depressed community of Pleasant Hills, Mandaluyong. He was thrown into the herculean task of looking for a relocation site for the squatter community. Together with 2 SVD confreres, 2 sisters and 5 laymen, Fr. Leo created a foundation possessing a legal personality that would address the problem of informal settlers. On September 28, 1971, the SAMAHANG BAGONG BUHAY FOUNDATION INCORPORATION (SBBFI) was formally registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a non-stock and non-profit corporation.


From the time of the foundation’s birth, many housing projects were built: San Antonio Village in Antipolo; San Jose Freinademetz Subdivision in Cogeo, Antipolo; Janssenville Subdivision in Cainta, Rizal; San Agustin Village in Antipolo; San Lorenzo Ruiz in Bulacan and Antipolo; St. Francis Square, Payong, which is also in Antipolo.


Originally, Janssenville was part of the St. Anthony of Padua Parish. When the canonization of the then Blessed Arnold became certain in 2002, Fr. Leo approached the bishop about the plan of making Janssenville the seat of a new parish to be named after the SVD founder. It was eventually approved that a new parish should be erected “to thank St. Arnold for the services of his congregations to the Church, in particular to the Diocese of Antipolo and to promote his virtues.” On 30th of November, 2003 the St. Arnold Janssen Parish was canonically erected. It was the first and only permanent religious parish in the Diocese of Antipolo. On January 15, 2004, Fr. Leo was installed as its first parish priest.


The diocesan bishop of Antipolo, Gabriel Reyes, says, “though restricted by old age, Fr. Schmitt remains a vibrant and enthusiastic inspiration for all the clergy…both diocesan and religious. His life of simplicity, faithfulness, humility and pastoral service is his best contribution for mission.”


Fr. Schmitt renounced his German citizenship and embraced Filipino citizenship to show his commitment in alleviating the pangs of poverty and homelessness among the poor Filipinos. Truly, he is an SVD who not only shared the vision of St. Arnold Janssen, he has also lived a life in mission.


The Society of the Divine Word Philippine Central Province gave the ST. ARNOLD JANSSEN MISSION AWARD to Fr. Leo in 2014, in recognition of his exemplary efforts in integrating and concretizing Mission as vision and action.


Today, Fr. Leo asserts that, “You cannot go wrong if you work on the premise of a Christian value and the development of the total person.” Indeed, Janssenville and the other communities founded by Fr. Leo and the Samahang Bagong Buhay Foundation remains a strong source of hope and inspiration in their community building and the upliftment of every person’s dignity.



(Source: SVD Mission Phlippines, Inc. – Steve Villarosa)





About A.Y. Foundation, Inc.

The AY Foundation Inc. is a YGC member, tracing back its roots to the Bayanihan Foundation set up in 1970 by Amb. Alfonso T. Yuchengco to administer an educational fund for the children of Grepalife employees and sales associates. It has then evolved to support health related projects, inspire youth to exemplify the virtues of discipline, integrity, self-sacrifice, and courage and instills social responsibility involvement among them. For more information, please visit http://www.ayfoundation.com.ph or call (+632) 894.9000 or drop by 48F Yuchengco Tower RCBC Plaza 6819 Ayala Avenue, Makati City



About JCI Philippines

JCI Philippines is part of a leading global network that of young active citizens that aims to provide development opportunities that empower young people to create positive change in their communities to build as one. For more information, please visit http://www.jci.org.ph or call (+632) 374.4138, email at info@jci.org.ph or drop by 14 Don A. Roces Avenue, 1103 Quezon City



About JCI Philippines-Manila

JCI Manila is the first and premier leadership organization established not only in the Philippines but also in Asia, where young men join to become better leaders. The organization believes that it is through reaching out to others that you learn more about yourself. 


For more information, please visit http://www.jcimanila.org or call (+632) 525.6791 or email clubhouse@jcimanila.org


Mother Teresa has been declared Saint Teresa of Calcutta on September 4, 2016, the eve of her death anniversary by Pope Francis at Vatican City.

Mother Teresa has been declared a saint by Pope Francis on Sunday at a canonization ceremony held in Vatican City. The canonization on September 4 comes on the eve of her 19th death anniversary.


For much of her life, Mother Teresa was known as the “living saint,” she will now be known as Saint Teresa of Calcutta.


After winning the Nobel peace prize in 1979 for her work with the poor in Calcutta, India, Mother Teresa built 600 orphanages and shelters around the world. Mother Teresa died on September 5, 1997. On October 19, 2003, Pope John Paul II beatified Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

A symbol of service and compassion, Mother Teresa showed the world the extraordinary power of love. Her life is “an epitome of grace, compassion and love”.


Mother Teresa dedicated her entire life to serving the poorest of the poor as well as the destitute and forsaken. She saw herself as ‘small pencil in the hands of the Lord’ and went about her work quietly, offering smiles and warm human gestures

Mother Teresa inspire many to give their ‘hearts to love and their hands to serve.’ Her saintly life will forever inspire humanity to commit to the cause of those who have no voice, no community, no home and no love.




“Let us imitate Mother Teresa who made works of mercy the guide of her life and the path towards holiness”

– Pope Francis

“Tears In Heaven”

Would you know my name

If I saw you in heaven?

Would it be the same

If I saw you in heaven?


I must be strong

And carry on,

‘Cause I know I don’t belong

Here in heaven.


Would you hold my hand

If I saw you in heaven?

Would you help me stand

If I saw you in heaven?


I’ll find my way

Through night and day,

Cause I know I just can’t stay

Here in heaven.


Time can bring you down,

Time can bend your knees.

Time can break your heart,

Have you begging please, begging please.


Beyond the door,

There’s peace I’m sure,

And I know there’ll be no more

Tears in heaven.


Would you know my name

If I saw you in heaven?

Would it be the same

If I saw you in heaven?


I must be strong

And carry on,

‘Cause I know I don’t belong

Here in heaven.

what matters most . . .

“If ever God would measure our life, He would put the measuring stick in our heart not in the head. It’s because how we love, not how we think, is what matters most to God.” – Author Unknown

Screen shot 2016-04-07 at 12.04.32 AM


Pope Francis



VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis urged the world in his Easter message on Sunday to use the “weapons of love” to combat the evil of “blind and brutal violence”, following the attacks in Brussels.

After a week of sombre religious events commemorating Jesus’ death, Francis said an Easter Sunday Mass under tight security for tens of thousands of people in a sun-drenched St. Peter’s Square.

Afterwards, in his traditional, twice-yearly “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) message, he spoke of violence, injustice and threats to peace in many parts of the world.

“May he (the risen Jesus) draw us closer on this Easter feast to the victims of terrorism, that blind and brutal form of violence which continues to shed blood in different parts of the world,” he said, speaking from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.

He mentioned recent attacks in Belgium, where at least 31 people were killed by Islamist militants, as well as those in Turkey, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and Iraq.

“With the weapons of love, God has defeated selfishness and death,” the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholic said from the same balcony from where he first appeared to the world on the night of his election on March 13, 2013.

The 79-year-old Argentine pontiff urged people to channel the hope of Easter in order to defeat “the evil that seems to have the upper hand in the life of so many people”.

The pope condemned the Brussels attacks several times during the past week, including at a Good Friday service where he said followers of religions who carried out acts of fundamentalism or terrorism were profaning God’s name..

The former king and queen of Belgium, Albert II and Paola, who is Italian, attended the Mass and the pope greeted them afterwards.

In other parts of his address, Francis expressed the hope that recent talks could resolve the conflict in Syria in order to end the “sad wake of destruction, death, contempt for humanitarian law and the breakdown of civil concord”.

He urged Europe “not to forget those men and women seeking a better future, an ever more numerous throng of migrants and refugees – including many children – fleeing from war, hunger, poverty and social injustice.”

The European Union and Turkey have agreed to stop the flow of migrants to Europe in return for political and financial concessions for Ankara. Turkey and The Aegean islands have been the main route for migrants and refugees pouring into Europe in the past year.

Francis called for dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, and resolutions to conflicts and political tensions in Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Burundi, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, and Ukraine.

Security was very tight around the square, which was bedecked with more than 35,000 flowers and plants donated by the Netherlands.

Police checked people several times at various points along the approach the square and subjected those with entry tickets to body and bag searches even before they passed through metal detectors. Security sources said police reinforcements had arrived in Rome from other Italian cities.

Islamic State militants have made threats against Catholic targets in Rome. Last year, a website used by militants ran a photo montage showing the movement’s black flag flying from the obelisk at the centre of St Peter’s Square.


This handout picture released by the Vatican press office shows Pope Francis waving to the crowd from the central loggia of St Peters' basilica during the "Urbi et Orbi" blessing for Rome and the world following the Easter Sunday mass on March 27, 2016 at St Peter's square in Vatican. Christians around the world are marking the Holy Week, commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, leading up to his resurrection on Easter.      AFP PHOTO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO/HO  RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS / AFP / OSSERVATORE ROMANO / HO


good-friday-austriaGospel Reading: John 19:17-30  ( for fuller passage see: John 18:1-19:42)”So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha.  There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.  Pilate also wrote a title and put it on the cross; it read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews’.  Many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek.  The chief priests of the Jews then said to Pilate, ‘Do not write, The King of the Jews’, but, ‘This man said, I am King  of the Jews’.  Pilate answered, ‘What I have written I have written’.

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus they took his garments and made four parts, one for each soldier; also his tunic.  But the tunic was without seam, woven from top to bottom; so they said to one another, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be’.  this was to fulfill the scripture. “They parted my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots”.  So the soldiers did this.

But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’  Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’  And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.  After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the scripture), ‘I thirst’.  A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth.  When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, ‘It is finished’; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit”

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 52:13-53:12

53:3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;  and as one from whom men hide their faces  he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;  yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities;  upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;  and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth;  like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief;  when he makes himself an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days;  the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand; 11 he shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous;  and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;  because he poured out his soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors;  yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:3-12)

Meditation: The cross brings us face to face with Jesus’ suffering. He was alone – all his disciples had deserted him except for his mother and three women along with John, the beloved disciple. And his death was agonizing and humiliating. Normally a crucified man could last for several days on a cross. Jesus’ had already been scourged, beaten with rods, and a crown of thorns pressed into his skull. It is no wonder that he died mid-afternoon. Pilate publicly heralded Jesus “The King of the Jews” as he died upon the cross, no doubt to irritate and annoy the chief priests and Pharisees.

Jesus was crucified for his claim to be King. The Jews had understood that the Messiah would come as their king to establish God’s reign for them. They wanted a king who would free them from tyranny and foreign domination. Many had high hopes that Jesus would be the Messianic king. Little did they understand what kind of kingship Jesus claimed to have. Jesus came to conquer hearts and souls for an imperishable kingdom, rather than to conquer perishable lands and entitlements.

We can find no greater proof of God’s love for us than the willing sacrifice of his Son on the cross. Jesus’ parting words, “It is finished!” express triumph rather than defeat. Jesus bowed his head and gave up his spirit knowing that the strife was now over and the battle was won. Even on the cross Jesus knew the joy of victory. What the Father sent him into the world to do has now been accomplished. Christ offered himself without blemish to God and he put away sin by the sacrifice of himself (see Hebrews 9:24-26).

Augustine of Hippo (430-543 A.D) comments on those who stood at the cross of Jesus:

“As they were looking on, so we too gaze on his wounds as he hangs. We see his blood as he dies. We see the price offered by the redeemer, touch the scars of his resurrection.  He bows his head, as if to kiss you.  His heart is made bare open, as it were, in love to you. His arms are extended that he may embrace you. His whole body is displayed for your redemption. Ponder how great these things are. Let all this be rightly weighed in your mind: as he was once fixed to the cross in every part of his body for you, so he may now be fixed in every part of your soul.” (GMI 248)

In the cross of Christ we see the triumph of Jesus over his enemies – sin, Satan, and death. Christian writers down through the centuries have sung the praises of the Cross of Christ. Paul the Apostle exclaimed, “But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14).

Hear what Gregory Nazianzen (329-389 AD), an early church father and bishop of Constantinople, wrote about the triumph of Christ’s exaltation on the cross :

“Many indeed are the wondrous happenings of that time: God hanging from a cross, the sun made dark and again flaming out; for it was fitting that creation should mourn with its creator. The temple veil rent, blood and water flowing from his side: the one as from a man, the other as from what was above man; the earth shaken, the rocks shattered because of the rock; the dead risen to bear witness to the final and universal resurrection of the dead. The happenings at the sepulcher and after the sepulcher, who can fittingly recount them? Yet no one of them can be compared to the miracle of my salvation. A few drops of blood renew the whole world, and do for all men what the rennet does for the milk: joining us and binding us together. (On the Holy Pasch, Oration 45.1)

Rupert of Deutz (1075-1129), a Benedictine theologian and abbot, wrote:

“The cross of Christ is the door to heaven, the key to paradise, the downfall of the devil, the uplifting of mankind, the consolation of our imprisonment, the prize for our freedom.”

The Cross of Christ is the safeguard of our faith, the assurance of our hope, and the throne of love. It is also the sign of God’s mercy and the proof of forgiveness. By his cross Jesus Christ has pardoned us and set us free from the tyranny of sin. He paid the price for us when he made atonement for our sins. The way to peace, joy, and righteousness in the kingdom of God and the way to victory over sin and corruption, fear and defeat, despair and death is through the cross of Jesus Christ. Do you follow the Lord Jesus in his way of the cross with joy, hope, and confidence?

“Lord Jesus Christ, by your death on the cross you have won pardon for us and freedom from the tyranny of sin and death. May I live in the joy and freedom of your victory over sin and death.”

Psalm 31:2,6,12-17,24

2 Incline your ear to me, rescue me speedily!  Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!
6 You hate those who pay regard to vain idols; but I trust in the LORD.
12 I have passed out of mind like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel.
13 Yes, I hear the whispering of many — terror on every side! —  as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.
14 But I trust in you, O LORD, I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors!
16 Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!
17 Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I call on you;  let the wicked be put to shame, let them go dumbfounded to Sheol.
24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!

A Daily Quote for Lent: Christ nailed our weakness to the cross, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.

“As evening drew near, the Lord yielded up His soul upon the cross in the certainty of receiving it back again. It was not wrested from Him against His will. But we too were represented there. Christ had nothing to hang upon the cross except the body He had received from us. And in doing so He nailed our human weakness to the cross.” (excerpt fromCommentary on Psalm 140,5)

maundythursdayGospel Reading: John 13:1-151 Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 And during supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper, laid aside his garments, and girded himself with a towel. 5 Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded.

6 He came to Simon Peter; and Peter said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part in me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but he is clean all over; and you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “You are not all clean.”

12 When he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one anothers feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.

Old Testament Reading: Exodus 12:1-8,11-14

1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2 “This month shall be for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. 3 Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month they shall take every man a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household; 4 and if the household is too small for a lamb, then a man and his neighbor next to his house shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old; you shall take it from the sheep or from the goats; 6 and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs in the evening.

7 Then they shall take some of the blood, and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat them. 8 They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. 11 In this manner you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste.  It is the LORD’s passover. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. 14 “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you shall observe it as an ordinance for ever.

Meditation: Does your love waver when you encounter bitter disappointments and injury from others? As Jesus’ hour of humiliation draws near he reveals to his disciples the supreme humility which shaped the love he had for them. He stoops to perform a menial task reserved for servants – the washing of smelly, dirty feet. In stooping to serve his disciples Jesus knew he would be betrayed by one of them and that the rest would abandon him through disloyalty. Such knowledge could have easily led to bitterness or hatred. Jesus met the injury of betrayal and disloyalty with the greatest humility and supreme love.

Jesus loved his disciples to the very end, even when they failed him and forsook him. The Lord loves each of us unconditionally. His love has power to set us free to serve others with Christ-like compassion and humility. Does the love of Christ rule in your heart, thoughts, intentions and actions?

Saint Augustine of Hippo in his sermon for this day, wrote:

“He had the power of laying down his life; we by contrast cannot choose the length of our lives, and we die even if it is against our will. He, by dying, destroyed death in himself; we are freed from death only in his death. His body did not see corruption; our body will see corruption and only then be clothed through him in incorruption at the end of the world. He needed no help from us in saving us; without him we can do nothing. He gave himself to us as the vine to the branches; apart from him we cannot have life.Finally, even if brothers die for brothers, yet no martyr by shedding his blood brings forgiveness for the sins of his brothers, as Christ brought forgiveness to us. In this he gave us, not an example to imitate but a reason for rejoicing. Inasmuch, then, as they shed their blood for their brothers, the martyrs provided “the same kind of meal” as they had received at the Lord’s table. Let us then love one another as Christ also loved us and gave himself up for us.”

“Lord Jesus, your love conquers all and never fails. Help me to love others freely, with heart-felt compassion , kindness and goodness. Where there is injury, may I sow peace rather than strife.”

Psalm 116:12-13, 16-18

12 What shall I render to the LORD for all his bounty to me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD,
15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
16 O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your handmaid.  You have loosed my bonds.
17 I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.
18 I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.

A Daily Quote for Lent: Christ chose to be a servant who offered himself for us, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.

“Even though the man Christ Jesus, in the form of God together with the Father with whom He is one God, accepts our sacrifice, nonetheless He has chosen in the form of a servant to be the sacrifice rather than accept it. Therefore, He is the priest Himself Who presents the offering, and He Himself is what is offered.” (excerpt from City of God, 10,20)