Weekly Homily from Fr Jim Hogan, 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 25, 2016

Below is the “missing” homily from Fr. Jim that I did not have when I posted the group last week.  It is never too late to read his words!!  Enjoy…reyanna

•Amos 6: 1-7 + 1 Timothy 6: 11-16 + Luke 16: 19-31•

Weekly Scripture Readings: 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The words on the T-shirt were simple: “PARTY! SLEEP! DO IT AGAIN!” Perhaps that disturbing message simply confirms the research of some sociologists who report that apathy and lack of sensitivity toward the suffering of others is growing in our society. It certainly illustrates the attitude of the rich man in the parable: “PARTY! SLEEP! DO IT AGAIN!” I hope the words are no more than the sentiment of a few still struggling to know their own deepest truth.

So, what is the good news in this story of Lazarus and the rich man? First, there is bad news.  The parable is a tale of gross inequality — the minority– “haves” and the disadvantaged majority–the “have not’s.” It also illustrates the spiritual cancer of narcissism – the absence of love.

In recent years most of us have heard of the Koch brothers — one of the wealthiest families in the United States. The Supreme Court decision known as “Citizens United” provided them and their wealthy friends the opportunity to exert enormous influence on American politics. They freely use much of their wealth to support and promote political candidates friendly to their own agenda.

I am not suggesting the Koch brothers are the rich man in the parable. Luke’s Jesus directs the challenge of this parable to all of us. Each of us must ask, “how does the parable apply to me?”

I refer to the Koch brothers because of an article in the Washington Post reporting a recent speech in which Charles Koch expressed concern to a gathering of his wealthy friends about the growing income inequality in our country. Maybe the voice of Lazarus is beginning to be heard.

The parable tells us no amount of warning is capable of teaching one to love. Narcissism is the absence of love.

Our deepest truth calls us to speak lovingly of — “you,” and “we,” — instead of just — “me!” Our deepest truth shines when — “we” grows to include those whom the Gracious Mystery we name God refers to as — “mine!”

I watched and listened carefully to the recent Republican National Convention. From the Republican nominee I learned what we become when we live in denial of our deepest truth. Narcissism is all about “me!”

I watched and listened carefully to the Democratic National Convention. I felt inspired by many of the speakers.  The words of a rather old song remain with me:

“What the world needs now is love, sweet love.
That’s the only thing there is just too little of.”

The vivid details used by Jesus in this parable are strong and may shock or disturb.  Apparently that was his intention. He was passionate in announcing a new social-political reality he called “the reign of God.

In the two thousand years since Luke wrote this gospel, there have been many revolutions.  Most took off a lot of heads.  Most denied any notion of God. Most avoided all reference to love. Most revolutions accomplished very little!

In proclaiming “the reign of God” Jesus calls us to an entirely different kind of revolution.  It is the good news expressed in this parable.  Our risen brother Jesus is simply calling us to be brothers and sisters of one another in him.

As we draw near the November elections, I keep singing:

“What the world needs now is love, sweet love.
That’s the only thing there is just too little of.”

That is the good news of this parable.

 

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