Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 26, Luke 16:19-31
“Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water to cool my tongue.”
Traditionally, the rich man in the parable selected to be read on this Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time is named Dives, which in Latin is translated “rich man.” The parable indicates he knew the poor man, Lazarus, by name, as we see from the quote of the Gospel above. The sin of Dives is not a sin of commission so much as a sin of omission. He knew that Lazarus needed help in many ways, and despite his wealth and the means to help him, he did nothing. He ignored Lazarus and went his merry way.
This point of omission is a good point in the parable for all of us to meditate on for a while. Oftentimes we, too, have the means to help others in a bad situation and we just ignore them, leave them to their plight, and go our merry way. We must remember that love is an action word in the commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself. In order to love someone we have to do something. Passivity doesn’t get anyone anywhere.
I often think of a story I read in the newspaper a year or two ago when people began to lose their homes because of the recession and economic troubles in our country. The article in the paper showed a picture of a young woman sitting on the curb in front of her home that she had just lost to foreclosure. She had her head in her hands and she was weeping. Who knows how much blood and sweat had gone into purchasing her very own home, and now it was all gone.
The story went on to tell about a very rich woman who drove by in her car while all this was going on. She saw the woman weeping and the foreclosure sign on the lawn of the home and she got the picture. She drove right to the bank mentioned on the sign, purchased the house, and then went and returned the home, now all paid for, to the woman who had lost it. Wow!! That’s what it really means to love someone.
How often do we see people in need but are too busy to do anything about it? The goods of this world are for all. There is enough to go around if most of it doesn’t end up in the hands of a few. No one in the world really should go to bed tonight hungry.This is what social justice is all about. What can I do to help things?
Monday of the Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time
Sept. 27, St. Vincent de Paul
There is something significant in the fact that today’s Memorial of St. Vincent de Paul follows yesterday’s Gospel about Dives and Lazarus. The two are a perfect fit.
St. Vincent de Paul was born in Gascony, France, in 1580. In 1596 he went to the University of Toulouse to study theology and in 1600 he was ordained a priest. In 1605, he was on a sea voyage from Marseilles to Narbonne and was captured by pirates who took him as a slave to Tunis. He was there for two years before managing to escape and return to France. He began to preach missions and in 1625 he founded the Congregation of the Missions or the Lazarites, so named after the poor beggar in the Gospel of St. Luke.
Charity was the foremost virtue of St. Vincent. He also founded the Sisters of Charity who yet today are found all over the world. St. Vincent de Paul is called the “Apostle of Charity.” There are innumerable Societies of St. Vincent de Paul found in Catholic parishes all over the world. There is most probably one in your parish, although you may not know it. They operate with very little fanfare and go to enormous lengths to help the poor. If you are looking for a way to love, a way of action, to help the poor, this is the place to go.
Find out if your parish or one near to you has a St. Vincent de Paul Society and when you find one, ask if you can help. This is one great way to actively help the poor in our society.
Tuesday of the Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time
Sept. 28, Luke 9: 51-56
I came across the following anonymous writing about resentments not too long ago. I used to have one similar to it that I copied and gave to people who were resenting others. It goes like this:
When we resent our enemies, we give them power over us — power over our sleep, power over our health, power over our peace of mind. Our enemies would dance for joy if they knew how our hatred was killing us, but not hurting them in the least.
Resentments are our enemies and will eat us up if we persist in them. The word resentcomes from two Latin words, re = again, and sentire = to feel. So the word resent means to feel all over again. Someone hurt us, perhaps years ago, and all we have to do is hear their name and the whole thing with all the bad feelings starts all over again. We have never gotten around to forgiving them.
How should we handle these little devils? The best way I have found is to pray for the one you resent twice a day. Not just once, but twice a day. A good time to do this is when we rise in the morning and before we go to sleep at night. Mention them by name when you pray for them. It is very difficult to pray for someone twice a day and continue to resent them. Eventually, the resentment will end and forgiveness will come. If you have any resentments, try this. It works!
Wednesday of the Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time
Sept. 29, Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael
Today’s Feast honors the three Archangels of God: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.
The name Michael means “Who is like to God” and this was the cry of the good angels in the war in heaven against Satan and his followers. Scripture speaks of Michael as the leader of the powers of heaven in their triumph over Satan. I read where he is the patron saint of grocers, mariners, paratroopers, police and sickness. Please don’t ask me why. Our local parish in Prior Lake, Minnesota is named St. Michael’s. Let’s remember these parishioners and those in other churches of St. Michael in our prayers today. Here in Prior Lake, they say the prayer to St. Michael daily following the morning Mass in the parish.
The name Gabriel means “man of God” or “God has shown himself mighty.” He appears in the Bible first in the Book of Daniel speaking to Daniel, and it is Gabriel who appeared to Zechariah to announce the birth of John the Baptist and to Mary to tell her she would become the Mother of God. Gabriel is the patron of communication workers.
The name Raphael means “God heals.” Raphael is the patron saint of Guest House, where I went in 1974 for treatment for the disease of alcoholism. There is a beautiful shrine to Raphael in front of Guest House. He is the patron of the blind, nurses, physicians and travelers. These three, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, are the only archangels mentioned by name in the Scriptures.
Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, pray for us.
Thursday of the Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time
Sept. 30, Luke 10: 1-12
St. Luke is the only one of the evangelists to write about a commissioning of the 72 disciples. The other evangelists limit themselves to speaking only about the Twelve. There are some unanswered questions about the 72 disciples. Were the Twelve selected from this number or did they stand alone as a special grouping? Were the 72 all men or were women also included among them? We don’t know the answers to these questions. We do learn from this information about the 72, however, that Jesus chose others to help with his mission here on earth — and I would suggest that the number is no longer only 72 but millions, including you and me and all the followers of Jesus throughout the world. We carry on his work today and there is plenty to do.
Jesus, please help us to spread your word and values in our little corner of the world.
Friday of the Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time
Oct. 1, St. Therese of the Child Jesus
Much has been written about this young popular Saint and much of it can be found on-line under her name. Briefly, for our purposes here, she was born in Alencon, France, in 1873. She is called by different names: St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, and Therese of the Child Jesus. She died in 1879 when she was only 24 years old. She lived as a cloistered Carmelite Nun for less than 10 years. She never went into the mission fields, never founded a religious congregation, never accomplished anything that could really be labeled great. She didn’t write any books; only a very brief journal called “Story of a Soul.” She lived a humble, simple life and did the ordinary things in an extraordinary way. Due to popular demand, she was canonized within 25 years of her death.
St. Therese, Little Flower, pray for us.
Saturday of the Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time
Oct. 3, Guardian Angels
Today the Church honors the Memorial of the Guardian Angels. This is a very popular belief among Christian peoples and would seem to have a basis in the Gospel of St. Matthew where we read: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.” This belief in Guardian Angels has been around the Church for a long time. St. Basil the Great, who died in 378, taught that each member of the faithful has a Guardian Angel to protect and watch over them. I certainly have no difficulty believing this, as God to me is a loving, caring Father. I sometimes think my Guardian Angel is overworked trying to keep me on the right road.
Let us pray today the traditional prayer to the Guardian Angel:
Angel of God, my guardian dear,
to whom God’s love commits me here.
Ever this day/night be at my side
to light, to guard, to rule and guide. Amen.