Our readings this week carry on the theme of healing in God. In the first Elijah heals the widow’s son and in the Gospel Christ restores the widow of Nain’s son to life. Lets confess any ways we fail to help the sick who need us..
There is a story told of Mother Theresa. One day, she was going along the street in Calcutta when she saw a poor man in the gutter; people were callously passing by, ignoring him. He was thin, sick, covered all over with flies and sores, dying. She lifted him up, though frail herself, and took him to her house. She washed, anointed his wounds, gave him fresh clothes and food. Soon after he died. Her friends said what’s the point, he died anyway. The point she said, was the smile on his face as he died. The media gripe that she shouldn’t be made saint due to doubts about one of the miracles, she just wasn’t libertine enough.
But she’s a saint not because she conformed to a self-centered world but because she followed Christ heroically in compassion for the sick and dying. We see that in action in our gospel where he healed the widow’s son. Like Theresa he saw the need and acted to heal the hurt. We’ll all be judged at the end of our life and the end of the world by our degree of such caring love. God will say to us on that final day: “well done good and faithful servant” if we helped others, especially the sick near us. Excuses like “I minded my own business, did nobody any harm” won’t do. Christ walks the earth in the form of our suffering neighbor; Theresa knew that. She knew that we must help our brothers and sisters to live and die according to their human dignity. Otherwise how can we face Christ on the last day. The love we have shown and the acts of mercy we performed will then be the basis of our reward.
That is why this gospel frightens me. I’m a priest, yet do I respond to the sick as Christ did? Safe in my house do I even have an inkling of the recession suffering. Or wider afield, do I feel for starving millions in Africa, wells dried up, clothes falling from backs. Do I help in some way to change all that?
Its the spirit of God that asks these questions. Ease and selfishness has not yet killed my conscience. As a Christian I still know I dare not be indifferent to the needy around me. I want to help Christ build the caring Kingdom of God in the world. But the excess money I have, do I hoard it? The Gospel challenges us to pledge a generous portion of our surplus to help the needy.
We may not all be Mother Theresas. But we can all do our little bit. Not out of fear, God will judge us gently, but out of love for our servant King of Calgary. He had nowhere to lay his head. He said that the greatest among us must be like Him, one the one who serves others, gives himself for others. True, none of us can be as perfect as him in this, nor does God expect us to be. But we can do a lot during our lives to alleviate suffering. We can show more Love, reach out more to needy brothers and sisters in Christ. If we can’t do it out of the best motives, love of God and concern that all live and die according to their human dignity, lets do it to avoid the great judgement, to ensure that our life in this world isn’t wasted, that we will not be cast out on the last day. Mother Theresa saw that man in the gutter and did something; let the compassionate Christ, her model, be our’s. For all else fades to dust at last, but He is lord of caring love, for our happiness in the world and forever and ever, amen.
So as the people of God reaching out to those in need in whatever small or great way we can, lets profess our faith..
Prayers of the faithful
For our Holy Father and the leaders of the church that they may be examples to the faithful and the whole world of concern for the poor and needy..
For leaders of our society that the poor, sick and needy may be their special concern and that they may allocate whatever funds they can, in difficult times, to help the underprivileged..
For our youth, especially those without employment and those who have to emigrate in these difficult times. that they may find more prosperous times in the not so distant future..
For ourselves in our homes, community and country that no one may be in need of love or care in our environment..
For the sick, the old, the lonely and the oppressed that through our love and caring help they may know the love of God…
For the dear departed whose love is known to God alone that through our continuing loving remembrance and prayers, a great work of charity, they may come to fullness of life in the Lord..
And we ask all these prayers through our all-caring lord, amen.
For years I was a member of the De La Salle order and its founder is a great model of care for the needy. He was a rich man who lived in a fine house and served as a privileged canon of Rheims Cathedral. Yet he gave away all he owned to the poor and went to live among them, setting up schools for those roaming the streets. He ate the rough food and wore the rough clothes of the poor like St.Francis, because as a Christian he could not stand idly by and see some of God’s children in need. Lets pray to Mother Mary that we’ll all have concern for the sick and less well off in whatever great or small way we can..Hail Mary