Lazarus and Dives, illumination from the Codex Aureus of Echternach

Homily for Mass – Deschatelets Residence

Thursday 8 March 2012 – 7.30am

[Readings: Jer 17:5-10;  Ps 1;  Lk 16:19-31]

The biography of St John of God who is honoured in the Church today states that he got to a point in his life where he was wracked with guilt over his wasted life.  He had been a soldier of fortune, an overseer of slaves, a shepherd, a crusader, a bodyguard and a peddler.  With the help of John of Avila he found new purpose in life and dedicated himself to the care of the sick and the poor – gathering companions who shared in the work.

 On his feast day its most appropriate to hear the Gospel of Dives and Lazarus.  Thanks be to God, Saint John of God came to a moment of conversion, and saw that he needed to change his life … a moment that the rich man of the Gospel never reached.  He remained indifferent to the sufferings of the poor right under his nose.  For this indifference, he ended up in the flames of Hades, in torment.

 This season of Lent is a time when the grace of God calls us to conversion.  Pope Benedict has said that Lent is “a time when it is necessary to decide to accept one’s responsibilities without further delay.  It is a time for mature decisions” (http://www.zenit.org/article-34347?l=english).  In his Message for this Lent, the Holy Father also reflects at length on the theme of being concerned for each other, and desiring what is good for each other “from every point of view: physical, moral and spiritual.”  (http://www.zenit.org/article-34255?l=english).  He says that “[t]he time granted us in this life is precious for discerning and performing good works in the love of God.”

 We are invited to be like the tree planted by water.  We are to set our roots deeply in the love of God, and to not cease bearing fruit.  We are called not to be indifferent to the needs of our neighbour … we are to respond to their physical, moral and spiritual needs.

 May our Lenten disciplines help us to respond to these calls to us.

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