in Ordinary Time
A Homily - Cycle C - 2012-2013
by Rev. Luke Dundon
First Reading - Amos 6:1a, 4-7
Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 146:7, 8-9, 9-10
Second Reading - 1 Timothy 6:11-16
Gospel - Luke 16:19-31
Written to explain that
Christ came to save everyone.
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 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.'"
Why do people tell stories? I think one reason is, because they’re worth telling!
Such as the significance of today, September 29th, National Coffee Day. Enough said. But no, I hear people say, we want to hear more! Understandable. We’re talking about COFFEE here! So there’s a story about it, maybe even a legend. In the 9th Century, a shepherd in Ethiopia noticed that his animals we’re acting a little hyper as they ate from the berries of a certain bush or tree. He was curious why they’d act that way, so he tired the berries himself . . . and soon he was skipping along as well! He ran (and I mean RAN) to the nearest monastery, filled with caffeine, with the great news of this discovery, and told the monk about it. The monk was quite suspicious of the “magically powered bean,” so he threw the berries into the fire, where they roasted and let forth an unexpected aroma . . . so the monks quickly scooped up the roasted beans, ground them up and dissolved them in hot water, yielding the world’s first cup of coffee. And the rest is history.
How about another story. Forty-nine years ago, in early March 1964, a group of parishioners of the parish of St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church got together and decided that they should plan a parish Bazaar in mid-June. Crafts and wares would come out for sale as the fairly new parish community would gather together for food, music and fun. From the very beginning, the bazaar would emphasize and strengthen the communal identity of this parish. In 1970 the bazaar changed from being a summer event to a Christmas event, so quilted blankets and hand-stitched winter underwear would make an appearance. A few years later the time for the holiday bazaar changed from December to November, and eventually the bazaar transitioned to September. The Christmas Bazaar, now bigger than ever before thus became the Fall Festival. And now, that festival draws thousands of people from all over the states of Virginia and Maryland. It’s almost become a legend in its own right.
Now, 49 years later, we see signs all over the place, and I means signs all over Falls Church, Virginia, advertising our PARISH Festival, for we are so proud to share the GREATEST story that this parish has ever heard. It’s a story that united this community in the first place in 1962. It’s a story that is more fascinating than any coffee bean, it’s a story that started forming communities LONG before St. Philip’s even existed, it’s the story of an angel that appeared to a lowly handmaid from Nazareth.
Besides being a day for coffee drinkers, September 29th is also a day when we remember the angels. So this angel appeared and told Mary that she would be the mother of the Son of God. Her Son would offer his ministry, his teaching, and his life for the salvation of every man and woman. This is the story that gives hope to those who suffer, this is the story that reminds the world that the lowliest and most forgotten, like the poor man Lazarus, are loved by God Himself. This is the story that continues to be handed down from generation to generation, as guardian angels continue to remind every person that God himself has died for them. The Church teaches that every person has been assigned a guardian angel who will be with him or her for LIFE, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Every single person, whether they believe in God or not, has been assigned an angelic spirit to show them the way to our family in Heaven. THAT is a community that will last, long after St. Philips becomes a beloved memory. Our angels, here with us at EVERY moment of our lives here on earth, continue to remind us of this most AMAZING story ever, a story that involves a manger, a cross, an empty tomb, and a message for every human being - - God has an immense, infinite love for them, for us, no matter what we have done, no matter where we have come from, no matter what we are DOING or what we are SAYING or what we are even THINKING.
Every person deserves to hear this story. We are asked by our divine lover, to share this story with others. We may not be confident about how to do this. On Saturday the 26th of next month, we’ll have a workshop right here, to learn how. Please look at the insert in your bulletin today, and sign up to come. For the greatest story ever told, is a story worthy telling, over and over, till the whole world is caught up in the God who is passionately in love with them, who continues to remind everyone, both at the parish festival and every day through his angels, He continues to remind us . . . YOU ARE NEVER . . . ALONE.