St. Teresa of Calcutta knew a thing or two about poverty. She once said, “Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.” Think about it—who are the people you see around you who might feel the most unwanted? Sometimes it is one of our own children who feel this way. Some husbands say they feel this way. Then there are the people we see on the street, who dress strangely, or hang out on corners, smoking. Once we figure out our deeper attitude, that will tell us what kind of relationship we have with the poor, lonely, or needy. Yes we have a relationship with them, but is it a good one, or one with blinders on?
The rich man in today’s Gospel HAD a relationship with Lazarus—he ignored him! If the rich man had first listened to the prophets, he would know that there is a real and living relationship between God and every living creature. All of us, regardless of our bank statements, our standard of cleanliness, our swift or slow brains, are ALL sons and daughters of God. That is the “divine claim” that we each have on each other! That is the relationship that already exists between the man begging on the corner and the well-dressed socialite at the Art Museum. But our role here is to keep awake—to look beneath the masks, to sweep the landscape of life with our vision, so that we never miss the needs of brothers and sisters lying at our gate.
Pleasure has a way of narrowing our vision to our own small circle. We want to OPEN the limits of our vision to see those OUTSIDE our circle, at our gate. A life relationship with the poor is written in the smallest actions: Just keep watching out for the least of Jesus’ sisters and brothers, and you’ll be fine.
Tuesday, September 27th is the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660), a French Roman Catholic priest who dedicated himself to serving the poor. As a young man he was said to have been captured by Barbary pirates and to have spent two years as a slave in Tunisia. After his return to Paris, Vincent de Paul began a mission to the peasantry, founding the Congregation of the Mission, the Vincentians (of which our Bishop David M. Connell, CM, is a member). He is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. He was canonized in 1737. He writes: “We cannot better assure our eternal happiness than by living and dying in the service of the poor, in the arms of Providence, and with genuine renouncement of ourselves in order to follow Jesus Christ.”….The St. Vincent DePaul Society has a long history here at St. Rose Parish, which started with a few parishioners under the direction of Msgr. Casey Ladzinski, one of the former pastors of St. Rose. Since its earliest beginnings it has grown in leaps and bounds. Mrs. Carol DeBartolo, has been president for the past six years, and now the baton of leadership will be passed on to the newly elected President, Mr. Michael Dignard. We thank Carol for her faithful and dedicated years of leadership and service as President of the SVDP and all that she has accomplished with the members and volunteers who assist with ministering to those in need. We welcome Mike, another outstanding member of the SVDP and ask God to bless him in this new leadership role. Mike will be installed as President at their monthly meeting on Tuesday, October 2nd. St. Vincent de Paul, pray for us!
Have a good week and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!
My homily today: 09.25.16 Homily
Joyfully in the Lord,
Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish