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Call To Repentance

Homily 09 29 2013
26th Sunday OT - C

Homily 09 29 2013
26th Sunday OT - C

View the Readings for this day

Cinderella is a common fairy tale that has the same basic plot as today's gospel. She is poor and oppressed, but her state is changed by her fairy godmother and then she is enthroned as the Princess.


Jesus used such a story to get home his message. Then the story could be expanded upon, bringing some details that the 21st century listener might not notice.

The beggar's name gives us a hint as to his inner attitude. He is called Lazarus, or Eliezer, God will help.

The beggar is the man who puts his trust in the Lord and longs for him. The rich man is nameless in some cases but tradition calls him Dives.

He is everyone who closes his heart in the face of the human misery that confronts us daily. The rich man has sumptuous food and is clothed in unusually elaborate garments.

But his guilt is not mentioned.

He did not refuse the poor man anything. He just ignored him. The poor man longed to be filled, but his desire was not fulfilled. The bread that fell was the bread that the guests of the wealthy man used to wipe their fingers clean. It was not even being served to them to be consumed.

Lazarus goes to heaven and basks in the company of Abraham, to whom God's brightest promises were made. The poor wretch, whose poverty on earth was misinterpreted as punishment for his sins, is welcomed by the angels of God.

The rich man descends into the darkness and emptiness of the grave - the ultimate settling of accounts, to level off all social injustices The rich man did not really deny the existence of Lazarus, he just ignored it, or felt it was in the normal scheme of things.

The rich man in Hades had fallen from his real privileged position as a son of Abraham. The rich man did not really listen to the message of the prophets. Abraham says that the five brothers will not be able to change their way of life if they do not do so through listening to God's despicable word.

Who in our lives is seeking the crumbs that fall from our table? A teen who is dying for just one good word of affirmation from you, hungering for just one positive statement about him or her? Starving for just a little hug? Or maybe it's a mother who is being treated all of the time like she's just the cleaning lady, or the household maid?

Or perhaps it's a spouse quietly waiting to hear the words: "I love you".

Or a long neglected friend who we've taken for granted and hasn't heard from us in a long, long time, or someone who is lonely and longs for just a few crumbs of our friendship.

Just who or what needs our attention after we're aroused from our fat-cat complacency that sleeps deep within our soul?

In all of life we simply must follow the wise old principle that tells us: "We must pray as if everything depended upon God and work as if everything depended upon us." But how can we if we are so busy feasting in our complacency that we fail to see who's outside the front door of our hearts, or just beyond the gate of our individualistic privacy wanting us to let them in?

Wealth versus poverty. "Haves" versus "have-nots." These aren't the real issues. Pope Francis says that it's our attitudes that need examination. Jesus and, yes, Pope Francis are both challenging us to be bold in those attitude changes.

Having or not having isn't what's important, but what and who we love and place our trust in. The parable urges us to make those changes now while we live. We, too, have the prophets and even more than that.

We have Jesus himself as a guide on the journey of our lives.

Jesus was a man for others. His great twofold command is love. Not of money, but of God and self and others. A genuine disciple of Jesus is also a person for others...someone who will share some of his or her money and possessions trusting that a loving "God will always very well look after" him.

The parable of "Mr. Rich and Mr. Poor" is a warning for prosperous people in our prosperous countries. Indifference to the needs of the poor is against the gospel. The gospel contrasts the two attitudes, that of Lazarus, the image of the poor, the downtrodden, those left penniless by the greed of the wealthy and the tax-collectors, and whose only hope was in the mercy of God, and on the other hand that of the rich man, clothed extravagantly, and feasting magnificently every day, self-sufficient, not seeing any need whatsoever to beg for God's mercy.

Help is at hand for the poor, who for a short while share in Christ's sufferings so as to share in his glory.

St Paul tells us, "What we suffer in this life can't be compared to the glory which is awaiting us." As a man lives, so shall he die.

How should we set about ensuring that we are on the way to heaven?

  • Firstly, desire it above all else. "There is one thing I ask of the Lord; for this I long; to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life" (Ps 26).
  • Secondly, to try to bear life's crosses with patience and faith.
  • Thirdly, to use this world without becoming engrossed in it, as St Paul says, "because the world as we know it is passing away." (1 Cor 7:31). Take each day as a gift and try to live it well. The closer we live to God in our daily lives the more intense will be our longing to see him face to face.

With the Psalmist we will find ourselves saying, "my soul thirsts for God, the God of my life. When can I enter and see the face of God" (Ps 42).

If when we listen to today's gospel about Lazarus and the rich man, we tend to identify with Lazarus, we miss the whole point of the story. We, collectively, are the rich man. Too in many ways only provide the crumbs that fall from our table to the poor and to the Church.

Amos" warning is aimed directly at us: "Woe to those ensconced snugly in Zion." The problem about being collectively responsible for the world's starving masses is that we can so easily shrug off our personal responsibility.

You may be living in house with few comforts or struggling to meet the mortgage repayments on your home. Yet all the services we benefit from, our public transport system, our education, our health services etc. derive from the rich man's club to which we belong. We dine at the rich man's table.

Much of our wealth derives from the natural resources our forefathers looted from the Third World. We still take their primary resources for a pittance, like the tea and coffee we drink, and sell it robbing them of their riches and we are now sending much of our garbage to the Third Word, our rubbish.

If we are beginning to wake up to the danger is not because our conscience has finally got to us, but because we realize that we are spoiling our own world. Our revelry is coming home to roost. In that memorable phrase of Amos, "the revelry is over." Our world is too small to bear such inequalities. Unless we share our table with the world's hungry, we will all end up in a hell of our own creation.

Today's liturgy is a call to repentance - to heed the warning of One who was raised from the dead.

Paul exhorts us today to live the life of love. And in this Eucharist we have foretaste of the wonderful love that will be ours in the next life - when He will raise the lowly to the heavenly banquet with Abraham and the prophets...where we too will rest our heads on the bosom of our Lord.

Our choices here determine the kind of eternity we will have. It has been put this way: "Where we go hereafter depends on what we go after, here." Where we will arrive depends on what road we travel. We get what we choose, what we live for. We are shaping our moral character to fit in one of two places.


Home Homilies Homily 09 29 2013

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Mass Schedule

Saint Aloysius
Tue - Fri - 8:30am
Sat - 5:00pm
Sun - 10:30am

Holy Days
8:30am & 7:00pm

First Friday
8:30am followed by Adoration until 7:55pm

- After weekday Mass
- Before Sat & Sun Mass
- Mon - 3:00pm

Sat - 3:30pm - 4:30pm
Or by appointment

Our Lady Of Lourdes
Sun - 8:30am

Before Sunday Mass

Find Us

Saint Aloysius
211 West Mason Ave.
Buckley, WA 98321
Phone: 360-829-6515
Fax: 360-829-5190
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Office Hours
Tue - Fri 9am - 12:00pm

Our Lady Of Lourdes
506 Ash Street
Wilkeson, WA 98396
Phone: 360-829-6515
Fax: 360-829-5190
Map it



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