A HOMILY FOR THE TWENTY-SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “C” – 9/29/19 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
We all know that embarrassed and awkward feeling, when someone comes up to us and asks us for help or money. We get nervous when we see it coming, even before they ask us. It’s when we’re walking downtown, and a homeless person comes up to us. It’s when we were driving, and we get to the stop at the bottom of an off-ramp, and there’s a person who is out of work, asking for help. It’s when we’re coming out of the store, where we’ve just bought what we need and want, and a young mother, or a disabled veteran, or an elderly person who looks pretty down on their luck, comes up and asks us for something. And so many times we try and ignore them. We don’t look at them. We drive right on by. Maybe we even feel angry at them for asking us, and making us feel this way. We tell ourselves that they probably want the money for drugs or alcohol, they are probably living better than we are, or we ask ourselves, why don’t they just go and get a job? And by far, most of us just walk on, or drive on, and we forget about the poor, until it happens again.
The rich man in the Gospel story doesn’t have that luxury. Lazarus is camped out on his door step. You would think, the rich man, who’s name you’ll notice, we don’t even know, who has to step over the Lazarus every time he leaves his house, can’t ignore Lazarus. And yet, he still does.
You see, this parable of Jesus in today’s Gospel challenges us in a very fundamental way. The problem with the rich man is not that he is rich. It is not even that he has done something wrong. The problem is that he did NOTHING at all! A sin of omission! And we don’t like to think about sins of omission, either! One can only imagine the rich man walking out of his fine house every day, carefully stepping over Lazarus, intently trying not to notice his need, and even more intently trying to avoid doing anything to alleviate his suffering. The rich man was probably a nice guy. But he does nothing at all to help Lazarus! All it would have taken was a little food, or an old coat or a warm hat, a cup of coffee, or even just a little bit of human kindness. These are all things that the rich man had in abundance and could have shared easily with someone in need, but he didn’t!
When we meet someone in need, we are not going to be able to solve all their problems, but we can often do some little things with great care to ease their sadness and suffering. It doesn’t take much: a bottle of water, a gift card, some spare change, a listening ear, or a prayerful heart! The willingness to give even these little bits of ourselves, can ease the burdens of a brother or a sister. We are dependent upon one another, and we are dependent upon God. We are all people in need! We do well to remember that!
This is exactly what we admit when we come to Mass! In the Eucharist, we are all people in need. We need God’s love. We need God’s forgiveness. We need our Savior, who freely offers Himself to save and bring us to eternal life.
In this Eucharist, Jesus reaches out to each one of us in our need. And He challenges us to reach out with our hands and with our hearts to others, especially those who are in need. Jesus offers us His love and comfort in His Body and Blood, so that we can pass on and share comfort and love with our brothers and sisters in need!
We need to open our eyes now and pay attention to all our brothers and sisters now. We need to recognize in them, the chance to love Christ Himself. For whatever we do for the least of our brothers and sisters, we really do for Christ!
And none of us want anybody yelling at us from Hell, while we’re enjoying the comforts of Heaven. So let’s get our priorities right today!
+ May God bless us all as we strive to live compassionately and with great love, Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!