Thursday, March 5, 2015

The things that we love tell us what we are

Pure love ... knows that only one thing is needed to please God: to do even the smallest things out of great love - love, and always love.  St. Faustina ( Divine Mercy in My Soul (140) )

Gospel Text: (LK 16:19-31)
Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man’s table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
Abraham replied, ‘My child,
remember that you received what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing
who might wish to go from our side to yours
or from your side to ours.’
He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him
to my father’s house,
for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.’
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.’
He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
Then Abraham said,
‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded
if someone should rise from the dead.’”

‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded
if someone should rise from the dead.’

These words strike me as among the saddest in all of scripture. People won’t be
persuaded to cross the great chasm between the rich and the poor
(a chasm that, let’s not kid ourselves, exists just a much in this world as
Abraham says it does in the next) even if one were to rise from the dead?

Then what hope is there to change our lives? What could convince us to, as Pope Francis keeps saying, come out of ourselves and go to the peripheries?

It’s at moments like this, with questions like these, that Jeremiah’s words make all the more sense:

More tortuous than all else is the human heart,
beyond remedy; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:5-10)

Not I

Or, at least, there is only one thing that I understand: that the only thing that spans the chasms within our tortured human hearts is love. A generous and boundless love. A love we have not deserved. A love that teaches us to trust it not because we are faithful, but because it is.

Reach out! -  Because that is what lovers do, reach out to each other.

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