Meditation on the readings for February 25, 2016
Jer.17:5-10; Psalms 1:1-4, 6; Luke 16:19-31
Today is not an easy time to be a citizen of the United States, for me at least, as we look forward to the presidential election. Many of the readings that we have heard already this Lent have called us to be the opposite of what the most of the candidates are promoting. For example: Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow (Is. 1:16), or …remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech…bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted (Is. 58:9,10).
I can take consolation from the second reading from last Sunday: But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:20). Father Austin Flemming’s homily from Sunday, puts some of these issues in perspective by saying that it is not what is on our passports that matters but what is in our hearts. You may read this in his blog “A Concord Pastor Comments.”
If you are ever near Boston on a Sunday, I urge you to attend a Mass at his parish, Holy Family, in Concord Monument Square.
So this brings us to today’s gospel, the rich man and poor Lazarus. The rich man thoroughly enjoyed his life of plenty while ignoring the one who was less fortunate lying just outside his gate. (Need I go on?) Perhaps the rich man worked hard for all that he had, or perhaps he was born into a life of privilege. Perhaps Lazarus made some mistakes in life, or perhaps he was born into the depths of poverty or disability. The key point in this parable is that, for those of privilege, it is so easy to ignore those in need or to refuse to believe that they have an obligation to help. Abraham was aware of the heartedness of the rich man’s brothers when he said that they would not listen even to someone who came back from the dead. May we heed the message of Jesus and the prophets by recognizing our indifference to those in need and doing what we can to help them. In doing this, we will not only be good citizens today, we will be preparing ourselves for our ultimate citizenship with the Lord. Who knows, maybe we can even influence the direction of our great nation.
The person sharing this reflection is a member of the Hosanna Prayer Group, which meets each Thursday at a few minutes after 7:00 PM in one of the classrooms.