I apparently did not publish yesterday’s blog, and I appologize. The good news is that you get a twofer today. Following this reflection is yesterdays.
Today’s a beautiful day. Wife is at home, and I am meeting my brothers for lunch (which also makes my wife happy: me out of her hair). I hope everyone has a great day.
The Story of Lazarus and the rich man is the subject of today’s reflection.
Quote or Joke of the Day:
God grades on the cross, not the curve.
“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. (NAB Lk 16:19-23)
The parable of the rich man and Lazarus again illustrates Jesus’ attitude toward the rich and the poor. The reversal of the fates of the rich man and Lazarus illustrates the teachings of Jesus in Luke’s “Sermon on the Plain” (found in Luke 6:20-21, 24-25). The “Sermon on the Mount” is similar to Matthew’s “Sermon on the Mount,” and has similar words; but the “Sermon on the Plain” places Jesus at the same level to those He is teaching. I believe this is an indication that all can come to Jesus, without difficulty. I wonder if Jesus was naturally a tall man?
If you notice, there is no indication of a wrongful act on the part of the rich, nor is there any indication that Lazarus was right in his actions. So, there is no discernable reason to condemn the rich solely for being rich, or bless the poor solely for being poor. I believe it has to do more with how you live your life, and how you love others. I think many rich people will go to heaven, and many desolate people may go to hell. In other words, the key to our salvation is love, faith, prudence, honesty, and belief. Those with the most toys, still die! The only thing going with you is your soul, and the marks on it.
The “Bosom of Abraham” was the choice position when one reclined with Abraham at the messianic banquet (the meal feast in heaven). Contrary to the famous painting of the last supper, the people of ancient Palestine did not sit in chairs, but reclined on their side, supporting themselves on one arm and eating with the other. The people ate with their back against the chest of the one behind them like little dominoes in a row. Being next to Abraham would be a great honor at any meal, hence the above saying.
“The netherworld” was a mystical underworld, known as the place of the dead. It contrasted with heaven in that Satan, and the other “fallen angels,” lived in the netherworld. People were buried in caves, thus underground. When Jesus is resurrected, he comes from the underground physically and spiritually (from the dead). To me, it kind of puts a particular sentence from the Apostles Creed in perspective: “He descended to the dead.”
“Lord, I love you with all my heart, body and soul. I wish to live in your presence every day. Please help me. Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Catholic Saint of the Day: St. Casimir
Born the third of thirteen children in 1461, Casimir was committed to God from childhood. Some of that commitment was the result of a tutor, John Dlugosz, whose holiness encouraged Casimir on his own journey.
It may be hard for us to imagine royal luxury as a pressure. But for Casimir, the riches around him were temptations to forget his true loyalties. Rebelling against the rich, fashionable clothes he was expected to enjoy, he wore the plainest of clothes.
Rejecting even ordinary comforts, he slept little, spending his nights in prayer. And when he did sleep, he lay on the floor not on a royal bed. Even though he was a prince, many of those around him must have laughed and joked at his choices. Yet, in the face of any pressure, Casimir was always friendly and calm.
Though his father must have wondered about him, he must have seen and admired Casimir’s strength. He showed that he misunderstood this strength when he sent Casimir, as head of an army, to take over the throne of Hungary at the request of some nobles there. Casimir felt the whole expedition was wrong but was convinced to go out of obedience to his father. He could not help but feel at every step that it was disobedient to his other Father. So when soldiers started deserting, he was only too glad to listen to the advice of his officers and turn back home. His feelings were confirmed when he discovered that Pope Sixtus IV had opposed the move.
His father, however, was furious at being deterred from his plans and banished Casimir to a castle in Dobzki, hoping that imprisonment would change Casimir’s mind. Casimir’s commitment to what he believed was right only grew stronger in his exile, and he refused to cooperate with his father’s plans any more, despite the pressure to give in. He even rejected a marriage alliance his father tried to form. He participated in his true King’s plans wholeheartedly by praying, studying, and helping the poor.
He died at the age of 23 in 1484 from lung disease. His feast day is March 4.
Casimir is patron saint of Poland and Lithuania.
Copyright 1996-2000 Terry Matz. All Rights Reserved.
(From http://www.catholic.org/saints/ website)
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #4:
The rule and life of the Secular Franciscans is this: to observe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following the example of St. Francis of Assisi who made Christ the inspiration and the center of his life with God and people. Christ, the gift of the Father’s love, is the way to him, the truth into which the Holy Spirit leads us, and the life which he has come to give abundantly. Secular Franciscans should devote themselves especially to careful reading of the gospel, going from gospel to life and life to gospel.