Archive for the ‘26th Sunday’ Category

The Rich Man and Lazarus 9-25-2016

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

Our TV remote controls are very interesting contraptions. If you do not like something on TV, you just click it off. You might be tempted to click off this gospel and possibly my homily. Put the remote down for just a few minutes and please listen. In 1950, a committee representing 17 different nations voted Albert Schweitzer, “The Man of the Century.” Three years later, in 1953, Schweitzer was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Schweitzer has been acclaimed the world over as a genius. He was an outstanding philosopher, a theologian, a respected historian, a concert soloist, and a missionary doctor. But the most remarkable thing about him was his deep Christian faith. It was a faith that influenced even the smallest details of his life. At the age of 21, Schweitzer promised himself that he would enjoy art and science until he was 30. Then he would devote the rest of his life to working among the needy in some direct form of service.
And so on his 30th birthday, on October 13, 1905 Albert Schweitzer dropped several letters into a Paris mailbox. They were to his parents and closest friends, informing them that he was going to enroll in the university to get a degree in medicine. After that he was going to Africa to work among the poor as a missionary doctor. The letters created an immediate stir. He says in his book, Out Of My Life and Thought: “My relatives and friends all joined in to rebuke me on the folly of my enterprise. I was a man, they said, who was burying the talent entrusted to him. A lady who was filled with the modern spirit proved to me that I could do much more by lecturing on behalf of medical help for the natives, than I could by the action I contemplated.” Nevertheless, Schweitzer stuck to his guns. At the age of 38, he became a full fledged medical doctor. At the age of 43, he left for Africa where he opened a hospital on the edge of the jungle; he died there in 1965 at the age of 90. What motivated Albert Schweitzer to turn his back on worldly fame and wealth and work amongst the poorest of the poor in Africa? He said that one of the influences was his meditation on today’s Gospel about the rich man and Lazarus. Schweitzer said: “It struck me as incomprehensible that I should be allowed to live such a happy life, while so many people around me were wrestling with suffering.”
And that brings us to the Gospel story itself. The sin of the rich man was simply that he never noticed Lazarus. He accepted Lazarus as part of the landscape of life. The sin of the rich man was not a sin of commission, which is doing something he should not have done. The sin of the rich man was a sin of omission, which is not doing something he should have done. The sin of the rich man was basking in his own personal wealth and not lifting a finger to help Lazarus in his dire need. The sin of the rich man was the same sin that is being committed over and over today. And it is this sin that is beginning to cause grave concern not only because of what it is doing to the poor but also because of what it is doing to society. John F. Kennedy referred to this concern when he said, “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” In other words, our lack of concern for the poor is destroying not only the poor but also the very moral fabric of our society.
The Gospel today is an invitation to us as individuals and as a parish, to meditate on the story of the rich man and Lazarus and to ask ourselves the same question that Schweitzer asked himself: How can we live a happy life while so many other people are suffering? As we reflect this week, let us close with these words of Pope John Paul II. He delivered them during his first visit to the United States in a homily at Yankee stadium in New York on October 2, 1979:
“In the light of the parable of Christ, riches and freedom mean a special responsibility. Riches and freedom create a special obligation. And so, in the name of the solidarity that binds us together in a common humanity, I again proclaim the dignity of every human person. The rich man and Lazarus are both human beings. Both of them equally created in the image and likeness of God. Both of them equally redeemed by Christ at a great price. The poor of the United States and of the world are your brothers and sisters in Christ. You must never be content to leave them just the crumbs of the feast. You must take of your substance, and not just of your abundance, in order to help them. And you must treat them like guests at your family table.”

Love God/Love Others! 10-26-2014

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

A true story:
An eight-year-old boy had a young sister who was dying of leukemia. His parents explained to him that she needed a blood transfusion and that his blood was probably compatible. They asked if they could test his blood. Sure, he said. The results showed that his blood would be a good match. Then they asked if he would give his sister a pint of his blood, that it could be her only chance of living. He said he would have to think about it overnight.
The next day he went to his parents and said he was willing to donate his blood to his sister. So they took him to the hospital where he was put on a gurney beside his sister. Both of them were hooked up to IVs. A nurse withdrew a pint of blood from the boy, which was then put into the girl’s IV. The boy lay on his gurney in silence while the blood was dripped into his sister. The doctor came over to see how he was doing. The boy opened his eyes and asked, “How soon until I start to die?”
Every word of the gospel comes down to love. Love that is simple

Walk Your Talk 9-25-2011

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

There are two important themes that are very clear to me in our gospel. I’d like to share them with you.
First – Do what you say – Walk your talk. Connect what we do here in worship with our rituals to our everyday lives and our actions.
A chaplain on a battlefield came across a young man who was lying in a shell hole, seriously wounded, “Would you like me to read you something from this book, the Bible? He asked. “I’m so thirsty; I’d rather have a drink of water,” the soldier said. Hurrying away, the chaplain soon brought the water. Then the wounded man said, “Could you put something under my head?
The chaplain took off his overcoat, rolled it up, and gently placed it under the man’s head for a pillow. “Now,” said the suffering man, “if I had something over me – I’m cold.”
The chaplain immediately removed his jacket and put it over the wounded man to keep him warm. Then the soldier looked the chaplain in the eye and said, “If there’s anything in that book that makes a man do for another all that you have done for me, then please read it, because I’d love to hear it.”
What effects people most is often caught rather than taught.
Having God on our lips is not enough – we need God in our heart.
2nd Theme: Even if we said NO to God it is never too late to say yes, to change.
A man turned to drink
He also turned from God and his family.
One day while walking along,
Thinking about how his life turned out,
He saw a bent, rusty nail in the gutter.
It reminded him of himself and his life.
So he picked it up and took it home.
Placing the nail on an anvil, he began
To straighten it out and clean it up.
An hour later, it looked almost new again.
Then it occurred to him.
He could straighten out and clean up
His own life in the same way.
That thought triggered his conversion.
He turned away from drink and back to God
And his family.
Today, he keeps that nail,
Straightened and cleaned, in his wallet.
Was there a time when I was almost like that bent, rusty nail?
It is never too late to change.
I close with this story. Someone once called a pastor to say he wanted to join the parish. He went on to explain, however, that he did not want to have to go to Mass every Sunday, study the Bible, be a lector or an usher, visit the sick, or help out with CCD classes.
The pastor commended him for his desire to be a member of the parish, but told him that the church he wanted was located across town. The man took the directions and hung up.
When he arrived at the address the pastor gave him, he came face to face with his own apathetic attitude. For there stood an abandoned church and several other buildings, all boarded up and ready for demolition.
1) Walk your talk 2) It is never too late to change 3) Live your faith 4) Lord help us – help ourselves