1st World Problems
About a month ago, I woke up one morning and turned on the cold water to brush my teeth and, like always, cold water came out of the faucet. Then I went to shave but the hot water, always there by the time I finish brushing my teeth, was still cold. You’d think the world was falling apart. O my Lord, we had no hot water! I had to take a cold shower and I don’t handle that very well.
I could go on and on but really, this is a good example of a first world problem. Poor us. You and I have to put up with cold showers every so often; we have to put up with really hot days and sometimes really hot homes that force us to get up and sit in our back yards to cool off a bit. Poor us in so many other countless ways.
There are always excuses we all seem to make in one form or another. ‘I didn’t sleep very well last night so I’ll sleep in because Jesus will understand.’ Then there’s the homeless person who’s at the corner and ALWAYS begs for money or work, but today I’ve only brought enough money for my lunch; Jesus will understand because I’ve got a killer day. I go to church almost every Sunday, although sometimes I doze off during the readings but I try; Jesus understands. Does He? Not according to these readings.
Today’s Gospel and the other readings, are counter-cultural. In our Gospel, and throughout history, it’s the rich that are given precious names; it’s the poor and those on the margins that are nameless. But not in the Gospel of Jesus Christ; this poor, sick, smelly, and gross looking man, a beggar, had a name, Lazarus. The rich man didn’t have any name. When the rich man was sent to hell and cried out to Abraham to send Lazarus to dip his finger in water, the rich man was reminded of the good he received during his lifetime. What was the ‘good’ the rich man was given?
Jesus calls us to get to know those on the margins as well as helping them, know them by name, to talk with, and learn from them. The good we have been given in our lives is not about money, property, or possessions. The good we have been given is the good news of Jesus Christ. This news calls us to a different way of life, one that isn’t sheltered or protected by walls. We are the ones who are called to protect and love those who can’t help themselves, who are unloved, and are forgotten. Our Eucharist gives us a chance to be forgiven of our sins, to listen to the good news in sacred Scripture, and the courage to live the life of our Lord through the reception and transformation of the body and blood of the Lord at work in our lives. May we be open to the tremendous power of the Holy Spirit who urges us and who impels us to live as Jesus lived.
On a personal note, Deacon Ben, Lydia Flores, Rachel, and I will be away this weekend on our annual Deacon retreat you enable us to experience. Thank you to each and every one of you for this opportunity to be with each other and with the Lord. Please pray for us as we will be praying for all of you.