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สถิติเยี่ยมชม (เริ่ม 22-02-2012)

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2019-11-12 05:05

สถานะการเยี่ยมชม

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26th Sunday of the Year
Amos 6:1, 4–7; 1 Timothy 6:11–16; Luke 16:19–31


Schweitzer and the poor
We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper.
In 1950 a committee
representing 17 different nations
voted Albert Schweitzer
“the man of the century.’’
Two years later, in 1952,
Schweitzer was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Schweitzer has been acclaimed the world over
as a multiple genius.
He was an outstanding philosopher,
a reputable theologian, a respected historian,
a concert soloist, and a missionary doctor.
But the most remarkable thing about him
was his deep Christian faith.
It was a faith that influenced
even the smallest details of his life.
At the age of 21,
Schweitzer promised himself
that he would enjoy art and science
until he was 30.
Then he would devote the rest of his life
to working among the needy
in some direct form of service.
And so on his 30th birthday,
on October 13, 1905,
he dropped several letters into a Paris mailbox.
They were to his parents and closest friends,
informing them that he was going to enroll
in the university to get a degree in medicine.
After that he was going to Africa
to work among the poor as a missionary doctor.
The letters created an immediate stir.
He says in his book
Out of My Life and Thought:
“My relatives and friends all joined
in expostulating with me
on the folly of my enterprise.
I was a man, they said, who was burying
the talent entrusted to him. . . .
A lady who was filled with the modern spirit
proved to me that I could do much more
by lecturing on behalf of medical help
for the natives
than I could by the action I contemplated.’’
Nevertheless, Schweitzer stuck to his guns.
At the age of 38,
he became a full-fledged medical doctor.
At the age of 43,
he left for Africa where he opened a hospital
on the edge of the jungle
in what was then called Equatorial Africa.
He died there in 1965 at the age of 90.
What motivated Albert Schweitzer
to turn his back on worldly fame and wealth
and work among the poorest of the poor
in Africa?
He said that one of the influences
was his meditation on today’s gospel
about the rich man and Lazarus. He said:
“It struck me as incomprehensible
that I should be allowed
to live such a happy life,
while so many people around me
were wrestling with . . . suffering.’’
And that brings us to the gospel story itself.
The sin of the rich man in today’s gospel
was not that he ordered Lazarus removed
from his property.
It wasn’t that the rich man kicked Lazarus
or shouted obscenities at him as he passed him.
The sin of the rich man was simply
that he never noticed Lazarus.
He accepted him
as a part of the landscape of life.
The sin of the rich man was
that he accepted, without question, the fact
that Lazarus was poor
and he himself was rich.
The sin of the rich man
was not a sin of commission, that is,
doing something he shouldn’t have done.
The sin of the rich man
was a sin of omission, that is,
not doing something he should have done.
The sin of the rich man
was basking in his own personal wealth
and not lifting a finger to help Lazarus
in his dire need.
The sin of the rich man was the same sin
that is being committed over and over today.
And it’s this sin
that’s beginning to cause grave concern
not only because of what it’s doing to the poor
but also because of what it’s doing to society.
John F. Kennedy referred to this concern
when he said,
“If a free society cannot help the many
who are poor,
it cannot save the few who are rich.’’
In other words,
our lack of concern for the poor
is destroying not only the poor
but also the very moral fabric of our society.
Today’s gospel is an invitation
to do what Albert Schweitzer did.
It’s an invitation to meditate on the story
of the rich man and Lazarus
and to ask ourselves the same question
Schweitzer asked himself:
How can we live a happy life
while so many other people are suffering?
It’s an invitation
to meditate on the words
of General Dwight D. Eisenhower,
who said:
“Every gun that is made,
every warship launched,
every rocket fired,
signifies, in the final sense, a theft from
those who hunger and are not fed,
those who are cold and are not clothed.’’
It’s an invitation to take to heart
the words of Jesus in today’s gospel.
Let’s close with these words
of Pope John Paul II.
He delivered them
during his first visit to the United States
in a homily at Yankee Stadium in New York
on October 2, 1979.
The Holy Father said:
“We cannot stand idly by,
enjoying our own riches and freedom,
if in any place
the Lazarus of the 20th century
stands at our doors.
“In the light of the parable of Christ,
riches and freedom
mean a special responsibility.
Riches and freedom create a special obligation.
“And so,
in the name of the solidarity
that binds us together in a common humanity,
I again proclaim the dignity
of every human person.
“The rich man and Lazarus
are both human beings,
both of them equally created
in the image and likeness of God,
both of them equally redeemed by Christ
at a great price,
the price of the precious blood of Christ. . . .
“The poor of the United States and of the world
are your brothers and sisters in Christ.
You must never be content
to leave them just the crumbs of the feast.
“You must take of your substance,
and not just of your abundance,
in order to help them.
And you must treat them like guests
at your family table.’’

26th Sunday of the Year
Amos 6:1, 4–7; 1 Timothy 6:11–16; Luke 16:19–31
“I’ll bet it’s cold in Chicago’’
Lazarus is in our midst today, crying out for help, just
as he did in Jesus’ parable.
Afew years ago
Barbara Varenhorst wrote a book called
Real Friends:
Becoming the Friend You’d Like to Have.
In it she told the story
of a woman named Erma.
Erma was on her way to the airport.
It had been a difficult week,
and she was looking forward
to being by herself.
She arrived at the airport
about a half hour before her flight.
She went to the assigned gate, sat down,
opened a good book, and began to read.
It felt so good just to sit there
with no one to bother her.
Then Erma heard a voice.
An elderly woman sitting next to her said,
“I’ll bet it’s cold in Chicago.’’
Without looking up from her book,
Erma said in a cold voice, “It probably is!’’
The elderly woman continued to talk.
Erma continued to give short,
unfeeling responses.
Then the elderly woman dropped a bombshell.
She was taking the body of her dead husband
back to Chicago to be buried.
He had died suddenly,
after 53 years of marriage.
Erma’s heart skipped a beat.
All of a sudden she realized
that the elderly woman sitting next to her
was a suffering human being.
She was a suffering human being,
seeking to be heard.
She was a suffering human being who,
at that moment,
needed another human being so badly
that she turned to a complete stranger.
The elderly woman was not seeking advice.
She was not asking for money.
She was simply seeking someone
who would listen.
Erma put down her book,
held the woman’s hand, and listened.
And as Erma listened,
she suddenly forgot about her own problems.
In fact, she felt a sudden surge of strength.
Then the boarding call for Chicago
came over the public-address system.
The two women walked arm in arm
to the plane.
Then they went to their assigned seats,
which were a few rows apart.
As Erma folded her coat
and put it in the overhead rack,
she heard the old woman say
to the person in the seat next to her,
“I’ll bet it’s cold in Chicago.’’
Erma found herself uttering a prayer.
It went like this:
“Dear God, please give the person
in the seat next to that poor woman
the grace to listen patiently and lovingly.’’
That story bears a resemblance
to the story in today’s gospel.
The gospel story
is a simple story about two people.
The one is a poor man named Lazarus,
who is in dire need.
The other is a rich man,
in a position to help Lazarus in his need.
The needs of the poor man are small,
and it would take very little
for the rich man to help him.
Unfortunately, the rich man
never got around to helping Lazarus,
as Erma did the elderly woman.
The sin
for which the rich man suffers after he dies
is not that he ordered Lazarus off his property.
It is not that he kicked Lazarus
each time he passed him.
It is not that he yelled obscenities at him
whenever he saw him.
The sin for which the rich man suffers
is simply that he paid no attention to Lazarus.
The sin for which the rich man suffers
is simply that he ignored Lazarus.
It is not a sin of commission—
doing something he should not do.
It is a sin of omission—
not doing something he should have done.
The sin for which the rich man suffers
is the sin of not lifting a finger
to help someone he could have helped
with very little effort on his part.
And that brings us
to ourselves in this church and to our world.
Each one of us sees the story of Lazarus
being repeated in our world every day.
And each one of us sees it repeated
at every level of society.
And each one of us is concerned
about what this is saying about our society.
It is saying that there is a growing tendency
to place our priorities on things
rather than on people, especially needy people.
Commenting on this concern
and growing tendency,
President Dwight D. Eisenhower said years ago:
“Every gun that is made,
every warship launched, every rocket fired,
signifies, in the final sense,
a theft from
those who hunger and are not fed,
those who are cold and are not clothed.’’
President John F. Kennedy went a step further.
He was concerned
about what this misplaced priority was doing
not only to the poor
but also to society itself.
Commenting on this concern, he said,
“If a free society
cannot help the many who are poor,
it cannot save the few who are rich.’’
In other words,
our lack of concern for the poor in our midst
is not only destroying them.
It is destroying us as well.
That brings us to our personal response
to this situation.
We can respond to it in one of three ways.
First, we can do
what the rich man in the gospel did.
We can close our eyes to the situation,
ignore it, pretend it doesn’t exist.
Second, we can do
what many good people are doing today.
They don’t close their eyes to the situation;
they speak out against it.
But that’s about all they do.
Finally,
instead of closing our eyes to the situation
or instead of cursing the darkness
produced by the situation,
we can light a candle
and do something about it.
We can become a part
of the “thousand points of light’’
that are forming all over the world—
helping the needy on our planet—
even if this means doing only what Erma did
for the elderly woman in the airport.
She did what she could.
This is the message
the Church sets before us in today’s gospel.
This is the challenge
Jesus sets before us in today’s liturgy.
It is the challenge to take to heart
the point of Jesus’ parable about Lazarus.
It is the challenge
to begin loving one another as Jesus loves us.

26th Sunday of the Year
Amos 6:1a, 4–7; 1 Timothy 6:11–16; Luke 16:19–31
Sin of omission
We commit the sin of omission by neglecting to do
what we ought to do.
Jesus said,] “Lazarus . . . used to be brought
to the rich man’s door,
hoping to eat the bits of food that fell
from the rich man’s table.” Luke 16:20–21
Father Albert Hurtado
was known in South America
as the “apostle to the poor.”
His father died
when he was only four years old.
The Hurtado family was left penniless.
Thus Albert learned at an early age
what it was like to be poor.
When he got to high school,
Albert began spending Sunday afternoons
in the poorest slum in Santiago, Chile.
The streets of the slum
were nothing but a sea of mud—
no sidewalks, streetlights, or sewers.
Bars and brothels flourished.
So did swarms of mosquitoes and
and armies of rats.
Amidst this squalor,
young Albert would help the needy
in whatever way he could.
When Albert went to college,
he continued helping the needy,
even though he was working his way
through school and
helping to support his family.
Albert entered a Jesuit seminary
at age 24 and became a priest.
One day he was giving a retreat
to a large group of prominent people.
Suddenly he stopped speaking.
After a long silence he said:
“I find it hard to go on.
I didn’t sleep last night.
And you wouldn’t have either,
had you experienced what I did.
“I got back to the Jesuit residence late.
A freezing rain was falling.
Just as I was about to enter the door,
I saw a man in shirtsleeves,
standing next to a wall.
“He was thin and shaking with a fever.
When he saw me,
he asked if I could give him
the price of a bed so that he could
spend the night at a local hostel.
“It occurred to me
that on nights like this,
homeless men
like him walk the streets . . .
and end up sleeping in doorways.
Each one of these men is Christ,
and we’re doing nothing to help them.”
The retreatants left that weekend
deeply moved.
To make a long story short,
the retreatants followed up
their retreat in a remarkable way.
They organized and financed
the construction
of a string of hostels across Chile,
where the poor
could always find temporary shelter.
Sometime before Father Hurtado died
from cancer at the age of 50,
he confided to a close friend
that when he looked into the face
of the man in the freezing rain,
the night before the retreat,
he saw the face of Christ.
After his death, the hostels in Chile
continued to spread
across South America.
In 1994
Pope John Paul II beatified him.
The story of Father Hurtado fits in
with today’s Gospel reading about
the rich man and Lazarus.
The needs of Lazarus were small,
and it would have been so easy
to help him.
The sin of the rich man, therefore,
was not that he kicked Lazarus
each time he passed him.
It was not that he yelled obscenities
at him whenever he saw him.
It was not that he ordered him
removed from his property.
The sin of the rich man
was that he simply ignored him.
It was not a sin of commission—
doing something
he shouldn’t have done.
It was a sin of omission—not doing
something he could have done.
The sin of the rich man was that
he never lifted one finger
to help someone
who needed help so badly
and whom he could have helped so easily.
What do the stories of Father Hurtado
and of the rich man and Lazarus
have to say today
to our nation and to ourselves?
One of the most provocative responses
to that question came
some years ago during Pope John Paul’s
visit to the United States.
In a homily during an outdoor Mass
at Yankee Stadium in New York, he said:
We cannot stand idly by,
enjoying our own riches and freedom,
if in any place
the Lazarus of the 20th century
stands at our door. . . .
Riches and freedom
create a special obligation. . . .
In the name of the solidarity
that binds us together
in a common humanity, I proclaim
the dignity of every human person.
The rich man and Lazarus
are both human beings,
both of them equally created
in the image of God,
both of them equally redeemed
by Christ at a great price,
the price of the precious blood of Christ. . . .
The poor of the United States
and of the world
are your brothers and sisters in Christ.
You must never be content
to leave them just the crumbs of the feast.
You must take of your substance,
and not just of your abundance,
in order to help them.
And you must treat them like guests
at your family table.
What the Holy Father said then
is still true today—
perhaps even more so.
It is the challenge to take to heart
the point of Jesus’ parable about Lazarus.
It is the challenge to look into our heart
and ask the Holy Spirit who dwells there
what response we ought to make to it.
Let us close with a reflection
by Francis Bacon,
the great 16th-century British statesman.
He wrote:
It is not what we eat,
but what we digest
that makes us strong.
It is not what we gain,
but what we save
that makes us rich.
It is not what we read,
but what we remember
that makes us learn.
It is not what we preach,
but what we practice
that makes us Christians.