Thursday, March 24, 2011

Daily Lenten inspiration, March 24, 2011 (Thursday of the Second Week of Lent)

Transcript of homily recorded on Thursday, March 24, 2011

By Father Tim McGowan

A long time ago there was a song, and it was sung by Barbra Streisand. It was called "People Who Need People Are the Luckiest People in the World." Now, I won't sing it for you, but that's basically the theme of the song, was "people who need people are the luckiest people in the world."

Now, we have story in the Gospel that Jesus told the scribes and the Pharisees about two people: One was a very poor man named Lazarus who lay at the gate of a very rich man's door. He was hungry, he was sick, and he was alone. Dogs would lick his sores — awful sight — while there was rich man dressed in purple and feasted on fine food everyday. And Lazarus would have loved to have just some of the scraps that fell from the rich man's table.

Both people die. Lazarus goes to the bosom of Abraham — which in the Jewish mind at the time was the ideal life, perfect bliss to be with Abraham, their father of faith — while the rich man went to a place of torment, where he was thirsty. And he made two requests: Father Abraham, send Lazarus to dip his finger in cold water to quench my thirst; and send Lazarus to warn my brothers not to end up in this place of torment. Now, both requests are denied. One, because it was not possible — you can't get there from here; and second, because it would be in ineffective. They won't listen to him, even if someone should rise from the dead, they won't listen because they have Moses and the prophets and they're ignoring them, too.

Moses and the prophets would say you take care of each other because you need each other. Now, it's clear that Lazarus needed the rich man. He needed his food, he needed some of his money so he could take care of his sores, and he could have used his friendship, too. But what we don't realize and oftentimes think about is that the rich man needed Lazarus. He needed Lazarus. He needed someone to shake him out of his selfish world. The rich man only thought of himself all of his life.

Can you imagine living a life where nobody needed you? They didn't need your advice, they didn't need your help, they didn't need your friendship. What a lonely place that would be. The rich man was a lonely man even though he had all kinds of food and fancy clothes. He was totally self-absorbed. And someone has wisely said that there's no smaller package in the world than a person that's all wrapped up in themselves.

The rich man needed Lazarus as much as Lazarus needed the rich man. Sometimes we don't realize that. We who have been blessed by God are to be a source of blessing for others. We need the poor. We need people who need us. Imagine how awful it would be if you were not needed. But here's the good news: we're all needed. God has made this world such a place that every one of us is of infinite value in God's plan, no matter how big or how small or how smart or how simple we are, we all have something that we can contribute to each other.

So during Lent, and especially during this Eucharist, let's recognize that there are people in our world — in our class in our community, among our friends and our family — who need us today.

How fortunate we are to be people who can need one another. We're the luckiest people in the world.

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