Sept. 25, 2022 | Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Blessed is he who keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.”
~Ps 146:7, 8-9, 9-10
Brothers and Sisters,
I love this time of year as the weather cools and the humidity finally leaves us, and we welcome football season (while hoping for the Oriole’s grab a playoff spot!) Or, like me, maybe you’re just excited at the promise of eating season — the time from Thanksgiving (or perhaps as early as Halloween ) until Super Bowl Sunday, when almost every event involves outrageous amounts of food.
Even as we enjoy the abundance of “eating season,” with inflation affecting many, I know money can be tight. So when reflecting on today’s Gospel, we may not immediately see ourselves in the place of the rich man, dressed in expensive clothes, dining sumptuously each day. Still, perhaps we should, and maybe, our ability to see our similarities shouldn’t be that much of a stretch.
Today’s readings invite us to open our eyes to what or who we might be overlooking. In the first reading, Amos reminds us that complacency isn’t an option. Lazarus had no one on earth to help him, so he trusted God completely (as we should). Then our Responsorial Psalm tells us all we need to know: “Blessed is he who keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry.” It’s clear. We are called to do more!
While preaching at Mass on the World Day of the Poor back in 2021, Pope Francis said it best; the Church “asks us not to turn aside, not to be afraid to take a close look at the suffering of those most vulnerable.” With this in mind, we should leave Mass today inspired to stop seeing those struggling with poverty as our burden but as real people deserving of hopes, dreams, and an abundant table of their own. And this is what God wants us all to do, whether in periods of abundance or despair.
As we enter the eating season, join me in reflecting on how we may have become indifferent to our abundance and those with less. Then let’s step up and help someone like Lazarus who hasn’t experienced, anticipated, or thought about the eating season.
Our parish has many volunteer opportunities to serve, like SALT, where an OLPH crew brings food, unconditional love, and hope for a better tomorrow to our many friends struggling with life on the margins in Baltimore City (visit https://olphparish.org/salt/ to volunteer). Or the St. Vincent DePaul/OLPH Outreach Ministry. Look for their Annual Families Helping Families Thanksgiving Program; this opportunity to give will be here before we know it.
So, let’s enjoy the nachos during the next Raven’s game or the Baltimore-style Pit Beef during the O’s playoff run (hopefully!). But when finished, let’s give thanks and GO BEYOND to serve our neighbor with grateful hearts and clear eyes. Indifference is not an option.