A Homily for Thursday of the Second Week of Lent
February 29, 2024
Holy Ghost Church – 8:00 Mass
Jeremiah 17:5-10; Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6; Luke 16:19-31

Audio Recording

 

The rich man in today’s gospel enjoyed a good life. He had the finest clothes and the best foods. He had lots of money and he used it for his own benefit. Remember, the Jews believed that if a man was righteous, God would bless him with riches, health, and many other benefits. Some Christians today also believe this false doctrine, this so-called prosperity gospel.

Perhaps this rich man lived in peace, thinking that God had been pleased by the way he lived. Yet at his gate, there was someone who should have stolen his peace away. Someone he was oblivious to, whom he simply ignored. Ironically, we don’t even know the name of this rich man, but we do know the name of the poor man. It’s clear that God’s favor was with Lazarus, the poor man.

Many of us lead comfortable lives. Does God see in us any semblance of what he saw in the rich man? How aware are we of the poor or needy who live nearby, those we encounter often right outside our doors here at Holy Ghost? What are we doing to help them?

While today’s parable speaks specifically about the dangers of not opening our hearts to the needs of the poor, I believe it also speaks to the importance of loving all those we encounter in our daily lives, especially those who may look and think differently than we do. Those who suffer from addiction, poverty, neglect or abuse.

Do we attend to those who most need our help, or do we ignore them, preferring to believe that their choices have led them to their fate and somehow made them unworthy of our help? Do we even think of them as our brothers and sisters, loved by God every bit as much as we are?

Even in our churches we have our little circles of friends with whom we feel comfortable. Many people tend not to reach out to those who are not part of their circle, as they prefer the safety and comfort of keeping company with those who think the same way they do, those who worship and pray the same way they do.

Do we ignore the stranger who visits our church, or do we welcome him and perhaps invite him or her to share a cup of coffee with us? Do we avoid those in our faith community who for some reason rub us the wrong way, or do we make an effort to examine our consciences to see if it might be us who needs to change our attitude toward those who annoy us?

God commands us to love our neighbors – all of our neighbors – with the same love he has for each of us.

Let us honestly reflect today on what we are or are not doing to help alleviate the suffering of the poor and use the remainder of this Lenten Season to be more generous in our almsgiving. Will we ignore those at our doorstep who need our help, or will we move out of our comfort zones to somehow accompany them in their suffering?

Let’s also examine our consciences to see if we may be ignoring or harboring hurtful thoughts toward those we may not agree with, those who just don’t seem to fit in with our comfortable circle of friends. Rather than ignoring or judging those we may see as being different from us, let’s make an effort to reach out to them in love. By doing so we will surely grow in the love of Christ and find ourselves in the bosom of Abraham when our time on earth comes to an end.