In the first reading, from the book of Ecclesiasticus or Sirach, we are reminded that God invites us on a journey with him. God reaches out to us and reveals himself to us; he now invites us to participate in this faith-filled loving relationship. We are free to accept God’s love or to walk away from God.
In the Gospel, Jesus pushes this understanding to a deeper level. It is not enough to simply stay away from sin; Jesus invites us to be positive and act in ways that demonstrate our loving faith commitment to God. Jesus invites us to walk the ‘extra mile,’ and be generous in our Christian living.
Joseph De Piro was seen living in this way. He always put the other person ahead of himself. He continuously gave from what was his, looking for nothing in return. He lived what St Teresa of Calcutta called: ‘loving until it hurts!’
In the second section of the constitutions for his missionary society, the founder presents the spirituality he expected the members to live by. He first talks about the vows and then about the virtues.
Starting their mission at home, all missionaries should strive to inspire each other with the desire and love of their own perfection. They do this with their good example, by carrying out their duties accurately, and with good words. They are to share with others any good thoughts with which the Lord inspires them, particularly regarding self-detachment and the growing in virtue. They must always encourage unity, fraternal love and tolerance towards each other’s mistakes.
De Piro continuously travelled the extra mile. As a priest he was dedicated to the local Church, as a citizen who loved his native country, as father to the poor and the needy, and as a missionary!