Archive for the ‘26th Sunday’ Category

The Rich Man and Lazarus 9-29-2019

Sunday, September 29th, 2019

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.”

God Looks at You! 9-30-2018

Saturday, October 6th, 2018

I have found in coaching Football – sometimes the players get a little apathetic – get the blazes, go through the motion, seem to be doing everything in slow motion. It becomes necessary for the coach (so to speak) to jump-start those players to light a fire under them; to get them going again in full speed.
To do this, you must get their attention. It may take a glare -some loud words, an appropriate tirade, and as one Southern Coach said; you may have to “pitch a fit” to get the players focused again and moving in the right direction.
I believe someone in the 2nd Scripture reading is trying to get our attention, – to get us focused. They use some very strong language. Woe to you rich, your fine clothes have grown moth eaten, – your gold and silver have corroded and their corrosion shall be a testimony against you. Weep and wail over your impending miseries.
Some of us here – might be quick to say to ourselves – that does not apply to me. I am not rich. I have trouble paying my bills. I can’t save any money. I am on a fixed income.
I believe there is a challenge in this Scripture for all of us no matter what our economic status in life is.
I would like to lay that challenge out – in just a few well chosen words and allow each one of us the opportunity to think about it for ourselves this week.
1. Does whatever amount of money we have; a lot or a little, – whatever possessions we have acquired, are they controlling us?
2. Do we have certain possessions, clothes, money, cars, CD’s, DVD’s, TiVo, smart phones, objects, – that we treat with more tenderness, care and concern than we do people (even our own family?)
3. Have we sometimes forgotten the saying:
“The world uses people and loves things;
Christians love people and use things.”

I close with this story: –
Once upon a time there was a little rich boy. His grandparents made millions of dollars in constructing big machinery.

His parents were bright, beautiful, and wealthy. The little rich boy grew up in an 88-room mansion with pools, a tennis court, a basketball court and a nine- hole golf course in the back yard. There were cooks to cook, butlers to serve, nurses to supervise, maids to clean up afterward – chauffeurs to drive the little rich boy to school.

But the little rich boy was ashamed, embarrassed – he couldn’t handle his family’s wealth. He ran away from home; he never invited any of his friends or classmates to visit; and he dirtied up new shoes or clothes – so he could be just like everybody else.

The little rich boy didn’t find out until he grew up that it isn’t how much you have but what you do with it, that a lot of middle-class people are more hung up with money than the rich, that real wealth is freedom from self-centeredness and real poverty is being so attached to whatever you have – lots or a little – that it controls your life.

We need to remember:

God doesn’t look at your bank accounts.

God looks at us.

What will God see?

Walk Your Talk 10-1-2017

Sunday, October 1st, 2017

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 words 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 just 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 straight 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 affects people most is often caught rather than taught. Having God on
our lips is not enough we need God in our heart.
Second Theme: Even if we have 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