March 5, 2015

March 5

March 5, 2015:  Thursday, Second Week of Lent

See nine connections between the picture
and today's readings and celebration?
Legend at bottom
Pope Francis
Homily:  Nobody spoke ill of the rich man; he might have been religious, but his soul was so darkened he couldn't see Lazarus; he just saw his life but didn't realize he'd grown sick with worldliness; he'd lost consciousness of reality.  Worldliness anesthetizes the soul.
The poor are living in our midst, in great difficulty, but worldly hearts don't see it; they can't comprehend others' neediness.  Jesus prayed,  "Keep these disciples from falling into the world."  Worldliness is more than a sin; it's a sinful state of soul.  The rich man turned from God, sick of heart, empty of soul, alone with his selfishness.  The poor man had a name, but the worldly, who think they have everything, lose theirs, but God is still Father to them and waits till the last moment.

Audience:  “The quality of a society is judged by how it treats elderly people and by the place it gives them.”  Many don't make room for the elderly, and even consider them burdens.  It’s a mortal sin to discard our elderly; they're not aliens.   We are them, in though we choose not to think about it.  If we don't look after and respect our elderly, we'll be treated the same way.  A society where the elderly are discarded carries a lethal virus.
Because of the elderly's vulnerability and special needs, they call for special attention and care.  They're a storehouse of wisdom.  The Church has accompanied them with gratitude and affection, making them feel accepted.  We can't accept seeing them abandoned, marginalized; where they're not honoured, there's no future for the young.

To Academy for Life re Assisting the elderly:  People are precious, good in and of themselves, and loved by God.  When life becomes fragile, we must assist and accompany the person in the best way. 
The commandment to honor our parents reminds us of the honor we must show to the elderly.  The wisdom that makes us recognize the value of the elderly also allows us to appreciate the gifts we receive from God and be happy.  The Bible sternly warns those who neglect or mistreat their parents.
Today the logic of utility can take precedence over solidarity and gratitude, even in families.  “Honor” here means to show respect and take care of those who could be left, or "made," to die.  There's no more important duty than safeguarding the human person.  Abandonment is the most serious “illness” of the elderly, and the greatest injustice they can suffer:  don't abandon those who helped you grow when they need help.  Capacity for service to the life and dignity of the sick is the measure of the progress of society.  Respect, protect, love, and serve life, every human life!  Only then will you find justice, development, true freedom, peace, and happiness!
Trust in God; be like a fruit-bearing tree...
  • Jer 17:5-10  The one who trusts in people, whose heart turns from God, is like a barren bush.  The one who trusts in the Lord is like a tree beside the waters, bearing fruit despite heat or drought.  God alone tests hearts and rewards everyone according to their deeds.
  • Ps 1:1-4, 6  "Blessed are they who hope in the Lord," those who delight in and meditate on God's law; they're like trees yielding fruit.  But the wicked are like chaff...
  • Lk 16:19-31  Poor Lazarus lay at a rich man's door.  Both died; angels carried Lazarus to Abraham, but the rich man was tormented.  Rich man  / Abraham:  "Take pity; send Lazarus!" / "There's a chasm between us." / "Then send him to my father's house to spare my brothers." / "Let them heed Moses and the prophets." / "But they'd change if one came from the dead." / "Not if they don't heed the law and prophets."
    • Creighton:  The only thing that spans the chasms within our tortured hearts is love, not miracles, guilt, obligation, or fear.
    • One Bread One Body:  The heart is so twisted and deceitful that most of us don't notice millions of starving people. If we ever change, it will be through God's Word.  The afternoon of Jesus' resurrection, he practiced what he preached in today's parable:  he opened the hearts of the disciples en route to Emmaus to understanding by interpreting Scripture for them.  Expose your heart to God's Word.
    • Passionist re almsgiving:  Whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”  'Alms' comes from the Greek for 'pity' or 'mercy'; almsgiving is dispensing mercy.  Almsgiving is prayer because it's “giving to God”; it's fasting because it's sacrificial giving.  It can change us:  once we recognize we can help someone person in need, we experience compassion.  Our Lazaruses can come at undesirable times and be easy to overlook, but we can dispense Christ's compassion!
    •  Rely on God; you won't be disappointed.  God will be your consolation, hope, and joy. / In the gospel, poor, sick Lazarus (="God is my help"), treated with contempt, was raised up.  Those who hold on to what they have lose it, while those who share receive more than they give.  Lazarus hoped in God, but the rich man [sometimes called Dives from the Greek though not named], who didn't see beyond his possessions to others' needs, lost sight of God and became a beggar.
    • Universalis:  St. Kieran (Ciar√°n of Saighir), monk, bishop, apostle of Ireland; see Wikipedia.
    Apparel legend
    • 'Tree' pin:  Those who trust the Lord are like trees...  (1st reading, psalm)
    • 'Fruit' pin:  ...that bear fruit (1st reading, psalm)
    • 'Girl with heart' pin:  God tests the heart (1st reading)
    • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  The Lord watches the way of the just (psalm)
    • 'Penny pincher' button:  rich man (gospel)
    • 'Dogs' tie:  Dogs licked Lazarus's sores (gospel)
    • 'Angel' pin:  When he died, angels carried him to Abraham's bosom (gospel)
    • Purple in shirt, tie, suspenders:  rich man's garb (gospel), Lent (season)

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