September 29 : Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Who is the Lazarus in my life?

September 25th, 2013



 The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus has left Bible readers wondering why the rich man had to go to hell. We are not told he acquired his wealth by foul means or that he was responsible for the poverty and misery of Lazarus or that he committed any crime or evil deed. He went to hell not for the things he did but for the things he didn't do. We often think that we sin by doing what we are not supposed to do -by thought, word and deed (i.e. the sin of commission). Today’s parable reminds us that the sin of omission can land someone in hell. The poor man Lazarus was lying at his gate. And the rich man simply couldn't care less. Of course he did nothing against Lazarus. But he has failed to do a good deed, failed to reach out and share a little of his blessings with someone in need. His sin is that of omission, and for that he was going to roast in hell.

Another problem we have with this parable is why Lazarus went to heaven. This is the only parable of Jesus where the character in the story has a name. So the name must be significant for interpreting the parable. The name “Lazarus” means “God is my help.” Lazarus, therefore, is not just a poor man, but a poor man who believes and trusts in God, which opens the gates of heaven to him. The good news of this parable is this: If you feel like a Lazarus right now, battered by sickness, poverty and pain, forgotten by society and by those whom God has blessed in this life, continue believing and trusting in God knowing that it will be well with your soul in the end. If you see yourself as one of those blessed by God with the good things of life, open your door and see. Probably there is a Lazarus lying at your gates and you have not taken notice.

These readings remind us that the law of love (see John 15:12; Romans 13:8) means that each of us in some way will be judged by the mercy we show to the poor. As the rich man learns in the parable of Lazarus - the distance between ourselves and God in the next life may be the distance we put between ourselves and the poor in this life (see Matthew 25:31-46; James 2:8,14-17).

September 22 : Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time -The parable of the Unjust Steward

September 19th, 2013

 


In today’s Gospel, Jesus relates the parable of the Unjust Steward. It’s a very tricky parable. The steward was a rogue, who dishonestly reduced the quantum of debts of his master’s tenants, but the master praised his cleverness. The master praised not his dishonesty, but his foresight, prudence and astuteness. We can learn a lot of lessons for our spiritual life from the way men behave and organize their worldly affairs. We should not adopt their goals, but we can profitably use their methods for our spiritual well being. We should hate their ends, but we must love to adopt their methods. The children of this world may be wise but their wisdom pertains only to this passing world. Though this worldly wealth is not to be trusted for our happiness, it could be used as subservient to our pursuit of our happiness in the other world. Now is the only time we have got to make good use of our gifts, talents and possession to gain heaven.

 

September 15th : Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Joyful Finding

September 11th, 2013


The words of the father in the story, to the sulking elder brother, are filled with the pathos of Jesus’ appeal: ‘My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours’. The‘best robe’, the ‘ring’, the ‘sandals’ and the ‘feast’, all marks of special regard, point to a mercy and generosity that have no limits. We are left to imagine the aftermath. Surely, the son’s life is transformed, as he comes, at last, to share in the love in the heart of his father. The future the Saviour promises to the world, in fact, will be a sharing in the love of his Father (cf. John 14:25 etc). The merciful, loving heart of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is the merciful, loving heart of God our heavenly Father. His mercy tirelessly seeks out each sinner and should the sinner respond there is delirious happiness and rejoicing in the whole court of heaven. To every sinner in the state of mortal sin I say as simply as I can, ‘Your sin is not the big deal you think it is; the big deal is your return to the merciful love of God. Trust in his mercy, not in your sin. And if you continue to sin, continue to trust and to return to his mercy.’

September 8 : Twenty Thired Sunday in Ordinary Time – Hating our own life

September 4th, 2013




We have yet to comment on the phrase “hating our own life”. This is just an extension of the earlier part. Jesus wants our lives to be lived in total truth and love. Our lives are not to be determined and manipulated by attachments, desires, ambitions or fears and anxieties which can become very much part of ourselves. We are to live in total freedom. “None of you can be my disciples unless he gives up all his possessions.” It is the ability to let go, even of health and life itself. Any aspect of a person or anything that lessens that freedom to follow truth and love is to be “hated” and transcended. Today's teachings are addressed to people who have not yet made the option for discipleship but are considering it. It reminds Luke's Christian readers of the choice they have already undertaken.

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