We have all heard the story Jesus told of a rich man who was hosting one of his many extravagant banquets. Outside his door lay Lazarus, a poor man covered with sores, who would have been satisfied with simply the scraps that fell from the table. In the end, we know the tables were turned. Lazarus was enjoying his everlasting reward while the rich man was not doing well at all.
Thinking of Lazarus always kind of haunts me. It brings to mind people holding home-made cardboard signs along the street saying: “PLEASE HELP or H0MELESS VETERAN, or WILL WORK FOR FOOD or HUNGRY” or simply standing there in obvious need of something. It would be simpler ‘not to see’ as seemed to be the case of the rich man. How easy it is for our judgmental minds to shift into high gear.
Of all of the people in need I have seen, one incident is unforgettable. I was driving down the street. The street light directly ahead of me was red so I stopped. On my left was a man with a sign somewhat askew so not obvious. I did not want to ignore him. Having no idea of how he would respond, I rolled down the window, greeted him and offered him a banana. He was pleased. Peeling it immediately, he ate it with delight. As the light turned green I began to move and saw his sign. It said, “Everybody has a story.” What a message! How I wish I would have had time to hear his story.
I often recall this incident. Everybody Has A Story. People don’t just suddenly turn into a certain type of person. They are shaped by past experiences. They have stories we most often never know and sometimes could not even imagine. Lazarus had a story as we do. So too, all the suffering people both near and far. They may be suffering with physical and mental illnesses, depression, addictions; they may be immigrants, abused, trafficked, living in squalor; victims of discrimination due to race, religion, sexual orientation, and on and on. How privileged and challenged we are to hear their stories. The reality is, whatever we experience, we can never `unexperience’. We are called to respond. That is truly the challenge of the Gospel!
Reflection for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time…September 22, 2019by Linda Cernik, Notre Dame Associate
Today we have guest reflections from the 8th grade religion classes at Neumann High School.
You can't put ANYTHING before God.
When the parable says you need to be trustworthy with yours and others belongings, it doesn't mean just material things
-- it is referring to how we use the gifts God gave us.
Being trustworthy is something that everyone on earth struggles with. Every time we sin we break our trust bond with God. Luckily through God's mercy we can get it back by going to confession and being faithful.
Be kind to everyone and share your wealth with the poor.
You cannot serve 2 masters. It's like having 2 left-handed gloves on! It doesn't work!
Reflection for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time…September 15, 2019by Dot Connealy, Notre Dame Associate
Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14 1 Timothy 1:12-17 Luke 15:1-32
The story of the Good Shepherd presents one of my favorite images of God. Being a small lamb helpless and confused about who and where I am is something I can relate to (at least at times). These feelings seem to be present more often as I grow older.
I find stories like these presented in the Gospel today, to be helpful to me when I meditate about God’s goodness and about how he often “holds us in His hand,” much like the coin in the 2nd story. We belong to our God and when we “spend” ourselves it should be on God’s behalf.
The wayward son (daughter) is also a story that resonates. Who among us has not felt at some point that we let those around us “down.” And, who, also, hasn’t felt like the “good” child who feels wronged when others around us seem to get all the “good stuff” and we are left with naught.
The important thing to remember (I believe) is the final statement the father makes to his son who stayed home. “My son (daughter), you are here with me always; everything I have is Yours.”
Let us remember how Good God is!
Reflection for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time…September 8, 2019 by Theresa Homan, Notre Dame Associate
The book of Wisdom tells us that the deliberations of mortals are timid and our plans unsure. How often do I get a whiff of inspiration or an insight into needed action, only to back off, if ever so slightly, from the full action due to timidity or second guessing myself.
When Love invites me to receive myself or another whom I have held in the bondage of guilt or resentment, do I set that one free or, more timidly, just offer a few more privileges?
We mortals are timid. When we count the cost it can be very frightening. The world seems to come at us with 10,000 troops to our 100. Prudence has its place, but we also need the examples of St. Joan of Arc, St. Oscar Romero and Jesus of Nazareth. We need to take the extra step to embrace ourselves and all others as dear members of our family. That step may look different for each of us. God help us to discern what that step is and give us the courage to take it.