Archive for the ‘26th Sunday’ Category

Entering the Kingdom of God 10-1-2023

Thursday, September 28th, 2023

It’s been a long day. She sits in her dimly lit living room. It’s after
11pm; her day started before six. At the office, it was one crisis after
another; then the school called: her eight-year-old she is raising alone
came down with a fever, so she had to go and bring him home and
arrange for her mother to come over so she could get back to the office.
After getting him to bed, she took on the monthly challenge of making
her salary cover all the bills (managed to make it again for another
month)! She’s tired but can’t sleep just yet. She needs a few minutes
just to be thankful for the beautiful boy snoring up a storm in the next
room who makes her life as a mom more than worth it all.
He drives a truck for a package delivery service – and these are busy
days. He takes a couple of extra shifts when he can because his family
could use the money – the oldest is starting to look at colleges. But one
night a week he manages to get home in time to gulp down some supper
and head to the community center where he coaches a team of nine and
ten-year-olds in the city’s youth basketball league. He first started
coaching his son’s team – and kept at it long after his son moved on.
Yeah, there are other things he could be doing that, frankly, would make
life a lot easier, but he knows that for some of these kids, this team is the
best thing in their lives. So, one night a week he continues to run, push
and coach these kids for the good of his own soul.
He helps her with her coat and makes sure she has a good, steady grip
on her cane. He then puts her arm in his and they walk the same path
they walk every afternoon in the park across the street from their
apartment. He points to a cardinal lying on a tree branch overhead. He
cheers a great catch made by a player in a pick-up football game. He
talks about last night’s call from their son and the latest doings of the
grandchildren. But none of it registers with her. She is lost in a fog of
dementia. All she recognizes is him, her husband of 63 years. And
that’s more than enough. He’s thankful that they can walk arm-in-arm
together for another day.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus upholds the sacred dignity of all men
and women in the eyes of God: the struggling, the poor, the powerless,
the ignored, the forgotten, the vulnerable, those pushed to the margins
and peripheries of society. Every life is open to the “way of
righteousness”: simple humility, faithfulness and gratitude are the entries
to the Kingdom of God. Our standing in demographic and marketing
profiles, our net worth, whatever labels society applies to us do not
determine the “holiness” of our lives or the measure of God’s love in our
days. Christ invites us to realize the Kingdom of God in our lives by our
commitment to the selfless generosity and faithful gratitude; God calls
us to look beyond the designations and stereotypes like “tax collector”
and “prostitute” and recognize, instead, the holiness that resides within
the soul of every person – including ourselves.

The Rich Man and Lazarus 9-25-2022

Friday, September 23rd, 2022

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
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 universal 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
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! 9-26-2021

Sunday, September 26th, 2021

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 is 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
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?