"We need each other. None of us is truly rich, and sooner or later each of us suffers from ignoring the other. It is our mutual privilege to give to one another."
Sr. Ruth Burrows, "Living Love," as quoted in Give Us This Day
Today's Gospel of Lazarus, the poor man (Luke 16:19-31) is always hard to read. I really like Sr. Ruth Burrows' take on it today. Lazarus needed the rich man during their life times; the rich man needed Lazarus after they both died. The point is, they needed each other. Our question today is, who is the Lazarus at our door? Who is it we tend to ignore or take for granted? It may not be the guy with the cardboard sign as we leave Walmart. It may be someone who demands more of our time than we like to give. It may be someone with whom we struggle because they bug us. It may be someone we haven't spoken to in years, but they take up space in our heads because we parted on bad terms. Whoever our Lazarus is, let us pray about what we can do to connect and not ignore this person. Let's not wait until it's too late! Love, heidi
"I yearn to leave the land of self-will and embrace the land of surrender. I would like to leave the land of hoarding and embrace the land of simplicity. Perhaps someday I will leave the land of fear and walk into the land of trust."
Sr. Macrina Weiderkehr, OSB; Living Faith
This was a few days ago, but it is also pertinent as we celebrate St. Joseph today. St. Joseph was a wonderful example of someone who leaves the land of fear and walks into the land of trust. Even though he received God's messages mysteriously in dreams, he was obedient to God's will and God's plan and he walked forth in trust. He took Mary into his home, he journeyed to Bethlehem, Egypt, back to Nazareth; all the time following God's lead and trusting in God's plan. Let us look to St. Joseph today and walk with God, trusting that we are headed the right way! And also, Lord, help us to be a bit more surrender-ful and simple as well! Love, heidi
"Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds; cease doing evil; learn to do good."
Interestingly, as I reading the verses before this particular one today, the Lord was telling Isaiah to tell the people to quit with the sacrifices and "worthless" offerings. The "washing" referred to here, is the washing the hands of the blood of the sacrifices; the rams, goats, and so forth. God was saying he is tired of the incense and assemblies. But wasn't it God, in the first place, to told the Israelites to perform these sacrifices? Indeed. But the problem was the people became all about doing the sacrifices and losing the spirit of the sacrifices. The people were going through the motions and there was no love or praise there anymore. It was just kill the calf, burn the incense, yada, yada, yada. Meanwhile, there were orphans starving, widows suffering and the people were too busy "praying" to help them. Yikes, Friends! This message is for us, today, here in 2014! People are suffering. Let's not be too busy with our Lenten works to help them! If my Lenten sacrifice doesn't show up in the belly or purse of someone else, what good is it? Our Lenten works must be about helping others or our God will say to us, "When you spread out your hands, I close my eyes to you; Though you pray the more, I will not listen." (v. 15) Don't let this happen to us! Love, heidi
"Jesus said to his disciples, 'Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.'"
Someone I read compared this instruction to "So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48) Being merciful is as difficult as being perfect, don't you think? We are just not wired to be merciful. We have a sense of fairness that dictates people should get what they deserve, and, if they do something really bad, it's not mercy. And that is where God's ways are so different than our ways (Thank God!) In today's Reflection in Give Us This Day, Lewis B Smedes says, "Forgiving is love's toughest work, and love's biggest risk." (from "Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don't Deserve") Forgiving is very tough work, and we can really only rely on God for help in our forgiving. But our desire to forgive is all God needs to take our desire and run with it. God can take our desire to forgive and turn it into real forgiveness. I will leave you with a wee bit o' Irish wisdom: "God is good, but never dance in a small boat." You may, however dance anywhere else! Blessings on your St. Patrick's Day! Love, heidi