September 25, 2022 at Saint Agnes, St William, & St. Peter Parishes in Naples, FL
This is a complex and troubling parable. I’ve always been disturbed by that man who even after death thinks that Lazarus should serve him. “Send him to my brothers” he says as though nothing has changed. While some may see his concern for his brothers, I find it troubling that he’s only worried about his own family. Oddly, at this point, the rich man has suddenly learned the name of someone he could not see before.
In the context of Luke’s Gospel, the closer we get to the end, to Jerusalem, and the culmination of his ministry, Jesus begins to focus on the poor and the demands of discipleship. … more »
In preserving this parable for us, Luke proposes a new creative management strategy that seems a little “off” until you sit with it for a while. The steward and his boss both know that the debts owed to them would probably never be paid in full. Droughts, floods, plagues were all too normal catastrophes that ruined a sharecropper’s chances of getting out of debt. There might be enough to pay the boss, but the left-over for the one in debt would be minimal. The steward is very clever and Jesus recognizes this immediately. … more »
With our first day on this ship and a wonderful week ahead of us, we are gifted with a very familiar Gospel that in some ways could set a theme or a give some focus to the time we spend onboard together. My own hope is that your presence here today and perhaps during the week will be a real-time proclamation of this Gospel and it’s three parables all of which have a common element that might not be obvious from just reading the text. In each one of these parables, there is a party, a dinner, a joyful celebration, and that is Luke’s concern for us. … more »
Not just the crowds, but Jesus’ closest disciples do not seem to understand the radical nature of his mission or the total cost of it. They only see the glory of victory after their experience of Jesus’ powerful campaign of miracles and preaching and his rising popularity as they approach Jerusalem on the eve of Passover. His repeated predictions of suffering and rejection fall on deaf ears in the din of the welcoming crowds and swirling rumors of a messianic breakthrough.
The truth is that few of us just like those earliest disciples fail to grasp the radical nature of following Jesus. … more »
I am frustrated with what the church gives us today for this Gospel. What frustrates me is the way some committee decided to do some “cut and paste” with these verses. Notice that six verses missing, clipped out for whatever reason, leaving us with a parable from the lips of Jesus without the reason Jesus had for telling it.
In those missing verses, a man has slipped into the banquet who is suffering from what our translators call: “Dropsy.” Whatever that means is beside the point. It’s not good, and his presence there had to put everyone on edge. … more »
There is an undeniable and an unmistakable image of the Kingdom of God being put before us by Saint Luke today as Jesus speaks to us in a very direct way. The whole idea of locking people out of the heavenly banquet is strange and ought to make us uncomfortable because we will have to begin to think about whether or not we are in or we are out.
For you and me, there is a special danger that comes with thinking that we’re in, or we should be in, or deserve to be in because we’re here right now, because we go to Mass, listen to the Gospel, and do this and that because that’s what we ought to do. … more »
I have always liked these Gospel verses most of which are only given to us in Luke’s Gospel. I like them because they expose the shallow silliness so often suggested to us by cheap art that makes Jesus look like a nice, long-haired sissy. If these verses make anyone uncomfortable with their image or relationship with Jesus, it’s time to deal with it.
In the various ways I have served the church in the past, I have come into contact with priests and lay leaders of the church who for various reasons have become ineffective. … more »
Did we just hear warnings, commandments, or suggestions? I counted eight: Don’t be afraid, put on your shoes, sell your stuff, give to those in need, put your coat on, turn on the porch light, stay by the door, and shut the windows. That’s my take on these verses, and it might just be that the last seven are instructions on how to have no fear.
Whatever. The sacred scriptures today give us plenty to think about when it comes to faith, and if taken seriously, these readings ought to give us every reason to take a good new look at this matter of faith because too many people think that faith is a noun, not a person, not a place, but a thing. … more »
Living as I do in what is often referred to as “East Naples” makes this Gospel very real and the message of Jesus very troubling. Some of the folks who live up in North Naples actually refer to this part of town as “Storage Town.” The number of climate-controlled facilities in this part of Naples is astounding, and we know that one reason is that those other parts of Naples would never allow them to be constructed in their sight. The other reason is because people everywhere think they need them. … more »
It is important to notice that an instruction on prayer is followed by examples of action. The two cannot be separated. First, we get the words. Then we get the action. The words begin by establishing our relationship with God when we say the word, “Father.” The very next part of the prayer commits us to do all in our power to bring God’s Kingdom into our time and place. Those words: “Thy Kingdom Come. Thy will be done” are not telling God to do something. They express our readiness to do whatever it takes to bring the Kingdom. … more »