Our Readings today continue along much the same theme as last week’s readings. In our first reading, we hear words of woe proclaimed to those who focus on their own comfort, while ignoring the needs of others. Jesus confirms this teaching in the Gospel, when he tells the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.
The rich man’s biggest fault was that he failed to notice the poor beggar lying right on his doorstep. So intent was his focus on his lifestyle: maintaining his fine garments and linen, and eating the best food, that he failed to see the needs of others. His focus on worldly treasure and pleasure was so intense that in the end, he lost all rights to heavenly rewards, and ended up in the place of eternal torment.
The lesson for us is clear: If we want to be found worthy to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we need to be attentive to the needs of those around us, especially the poor and less fortunate. On this Sunday in which the Church celebrates the World Day of Prayer for Migrants and Refugees, we are also reminded of our duty to care for those who have been displaced from their homes by war, famine, natural disasters, political oppression, and other forms of injustice. Pope Francis reminds us that we are called to work to build a future that conforms ever more fully to God’s plan of a world in which everyone can live in peace and dignity.
Speaking of refugees and migrants, Pope Francis says: “The Kingdom of God is to be built with them, for without them it would not be the Kingdom that God wants. The inclusion of those most vulnerable is the necessary condition for full citizenship in God’s Kingdom. Building the future with migrants and refugees also means recognizing and valuing how much each of them can contribute to the process of construction.” My hope for each of us is that we can see Pope Francis’ words as an invitation to be more welcoming to the refugees and migrants right here in our own community, especially through our outreach programs.
Last week, I announced the departure of Jessica Jarvis, our youth minister. This week, I am pleased to welcome Lynne Tibor to our Family of Parishes Staff. Lynne has served as a youth minister for many years in the Diocese of London. She has also held a couple of short-term contract positions with us, Most recently stepping in for Jean Beneteau when she took leave last fall. We are excited to welcome Lynne to our staff! Be sure to stop and say hi if you happen to see her at Mass.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Steven Huber, CSB