Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

The Sunday Gospel [Sept. 26, 2010]

Lk 16:19-31
The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

Jesus said to the Pharisees, "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. And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for i am suffering torment in these flames.'Abraham replied, 'My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.' He said, 'Then I beg you, father, send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.' But Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.' He said, 'Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' Then Abraham said, 'If they will not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'"


When her parents asked the young woman why she wanted to become a nun, she answered: "You would not understand me. You can only see the treasures here on earth and not the treasures that last." She wanted to point out that they were more focused on the "means" and not on the "end," on the riches here here on earth which she could give them help support the studies of her brothers and sisters, and not on the "end" of our existence---that is, "heaven," the experience of intimate communion with God, the loving embrace of God, the destiny of all beings.
The readings remind us that riches are means, not an end. The Gospel emphasizes true wisdom: "Know what is more important in life. Established proper relation between the means and the end, between riches and destiny of our life." Thus, we can be assured of what counts more in life, without focusing more on what is secondary.
Pondering on the readings, particularly on the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, we can learn the following:
* Use properly your riches. The parable invites us to reflect not so much on hell but on how we use our riches. The warning of Jesus is evident: "Do not focus your attention on the means but on the end. Do not let riches hinder you from becoming more human. Instead, let riches make you more in solidarity with the needy."
Jesus describes the future of those who are rich but do not share their blessings with the poor and the needy. He does not say that riches are evil or unnecessary for life. Nevertheless, he emphasizes how riches have to be seen as "means" and not "end." The rich man seems to be happy. He is "dressed in purple garments and fine linen" and dines "sumptuously each day." On the other hand, Lazarus, the poor man, has nothing to eat. He is "covered with sores" and will gladly eat the scraps that fall from the rich man's table. God's justice prevails in the end. The rich man is not able to bring his riches into the life hereafter; he repents too late. The poor man, on the other hand, is rewarded with eternal happiness.
* Trust in God, not in your riches. Nothing is said if the rich man has gained his treasures unjustly. The Gospel does not accuse or condemn the fact of merely being rich. It condemns those who are rich yet do not care about the welfare of others.
Jesus calls foolish those who put their trust in things that are "passing" and not in God. These could not be their "passport" to life. The rich seems to have everything but come empty-handed before God.
*Sin of Ommision: The rich man does not do anything evil to Lazarus. He does not hurt Lazarus. But neither does he do anything good for Lazarus.
This happens not only among rich and poor nations but also among families, ecclsial communities, and concrete persons. Sometimes we forget the finality of the material goods of the earth. We are called to share with others what we have. This is an invitation for both the rich and the poor.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Prophecy on Pope John Paul "The Great"

[Diary 1732]
"As I was praying for Poland, I heard the words: I bear a special love for Poland, and if she will be obedient to My will, I will exalt her in might and holiness. From her will come forth the spark that will prepare the world for My final coming."

Source: DIARY, Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul © 1987 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.  Stockbridge, MA 01263.  All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Note: If you like my post then consider buying the Book "Divine Mercy in my Soul" from the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception website. The owner of this blog have no other intention but to spread and proclaim the "Divine Mercy".

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Parable of the Dishonest Servant

The Sunday Gospel --- Sept. 19, 2010

Lk 16:1-13
The Parable of the Dishonest Servant

Jesus said to His Disciples, "A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property. He Summoned him and said, 'What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.' The steward said to himself, 'What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. I know what shall I do so that, when I am removed from the stewardship, they may welcome me into their homes.' He called in his master's debtors one by one. To the first he said, 'How much do you owe my master? He replied, 'One hundred kors of wheat.' He said to him, 'Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.' And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.
"For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? if you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours? No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."

Be Enterprising and Resourceful

The Gospel Parable seems to jump out directly from newspapers headlines. Everyday we read stories of managers and agents accused of and dismissed for mismanaging of squandering the money entrusted to them. Accounts of falsified documents, forgery or counterfeiting, misuse of funds, illegal lobbying, etc.---It seems that Jesus speaks of our time rather than his own. We wonder if human nature has changed for the better, if there is something truly new under the sun.
The deeds of the steward are rather commonplace; what is surprising and disturbing is the commendation that he receives. We expect to hear Jesus vigorously denounce that swindling, but he gives none. Jesus purposely sets the scene to draw from the story and important but unexpected lesson: "Do you see the resourcefulness of the children of this world? They secure their future without delay. Would that you were as capable as they are in securing your future with God!"
Let us focus on the steward. Is he guilty of the imputation that he squandered his master's property? Most probably he is. But he does not waste time trying to justify himself. Neither does he suffer that illusion that he can find employment elsewhere. He faces his immediate concern: how to secure his future. Will he dig ditches? Never! Will he be a beggar? What a horible disgrace that will be for him!
He comes out with an acceptable solution and pursues it. He approaches his master's debtors one by one. He tears up their bills and gives them new ones---but for a much smaller amount. In so doing, he has the debtors think they are recipients of a particular favor from him. He also controls a form of blackmail on them in case they complain because they have agreed with his arrangement.
The steward loses his commission in changing and lowering the accounts. But it is much better than losing everything. In reality, it is the master who pays the price of the transaction. But how will he unmask the culprit when the steward has the relieved debtors at his control and he has the figures correct, accounted for in the promissory notes? At the end, the master can only be impressed by the cleverness of the trick. Truly a masterpiece of cunning!
The point of the parable is not the dishonesty and bad faith of the crook. The Gospel in fact condemn all forms of dishonesty. The point rather is decisiveness, resourcefulness, and prudence of the steward when faced with the specter of failure and poverty. Would that the children of light be as decisive and resourceful in securing their future---not by amassing wealth, but by laying up treasures of the kingdom!
When it comes to providing ourselves and our dear ones a good life and a promising future, we use our resourcefulness in community building, in outreach programs, and in worship activities, we help build God's kingdom here on earth and lay up for ourselves inexhaustible treasures in heaven.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Power of the Chaplet

The Divine Mercy Chaplet in Song

[Diary 754]
 +The Lord's Promise: The souls that say this chaplet will be embraced by My mercy during their lifetime and especially at the hour of their death.

[Diary 810]
The following afternoon, when I entered the ward, I saw someone dying, and learned that the agony had started during the night. When I verified it-it had been at the time when I had been asked for prayer. And just then, I heard a voice in my soul: Say the chaplet which I taught you. I ran to fetch my rosary and knelt down by the dying person and, with all the ardor of my soul, I began to say the chaplet. Suddenly the dying person opened her eyes and looked at me; I had not managed to finish the entire chaplet when she died, with extraordinary peace. I fervently asked the Lord to fulfill the promise He had given me for the recitation of the chaplet. The Lord gave me to know that the soul had been granted the grace He had promised me. That was the first soul to receive the benefit of the Lord's promise. I could feel the power of mercy envelop that soul.

[Diary 811]
When I entered my solitude, I heard these words: At the hour of their death, I defend as My own glory every soul that will say this chaplet; or when others say it for a dying person, the indulgence is the same. When this chaplet is said by the bedside of a dying person, God's anger is placated, unfathomable mercy envelops the soul, and the very depths of My tender mercy are moved for the sake of the sorrowful Passion of My Son.

Oh, if only everyone realized how great the Lord's mercy is and how much we all need that mercy, especially at that crucial hour!

[Diary 1035]
+ This evening, a certain young man was dying; he was suffering terribly. For his intention, I began to say the chaplet which the Lord had taught me. I said it all, but the agony continued. I wanted to start the Litany of the Saints, but suddenly I heard the words, Say the chaplet. I understood that the soul needed the special help of prayers and great mercy. And so I locked myself in my room and fell prostrate before God and begged for mercy upon that soul. Then I felt the great majesty of God and His great justice. I trembled with fear, but did not stop begging the Lord's mercy for that soul. Then I took the cross off my breast, the crucifix I had received when making my vows, [180] and I put it on the chest of the dying man and said to the Lord, "Jesus, look on this soul with the same love with which You looked on my holocaust on the day of my perpetual vows, and by the power of the promise which You made to me in respect to the dying and those who would invoke Your mercy on them, [grant this man the grace of a happy death]." His suffering then ceased, and he died peacefully. Oh, how much we should pray for the dying! Let us take advantage of mercy while there is still time for mercy.

[Diary 1036]
+ I realize more and more how much every soul needs God's mercy throughout life and particularly at the hour of death. This chaplet mitigates God's anger, as He himself told me.

Source: DIARY, Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul © 1987 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.  Stockbridge, MA 01263.  All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Note: If you like my post then consider buying the Book "Divine Mercy in my Soul" from the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception website. The owner of this blog have no other intention but to spread and proclaim the "Divine Mercy".

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Greatness of the Image

[Diary 47]
+February 22, 1931
In the evening, when I was in my cell, I saw the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand [was] raised in the gesture of blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From beneath the garment, slightly drawn aside at the breast, there were emanating two large rays, one red, the other pale. In silence I kept my gaze fixed  on the Lord; my soul was struck with awe, but also with great joy. After a while, Jesus said to me, Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You. I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and [then] throughout the world.

[Diary 48]
I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over [its] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory.

Source: DIARY, Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul © 1987 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.  Stockbridge, MA 01263.  All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Note: If you like my post then consider buying the Book "Divine Mercy in my Soul" from the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception website. The owner of this blog have no other intention but to spread and proclaim the "Divine Mercy".