Sep 24, 2016
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Although the Lord identifies the poor man who goes to heaven by the name of Lazarus, the rich man will forever be nameless and forgotten. During his life, the rich man did nothing great or worthy of heaven's praise. The rich man is really a “nobody” in hell, while the poor man is identified as “Lazarus”, a name honored in heaven among the saints of God.
Your name, my name, is not simple letters sown together and registered on our birth certificate and then paired with a social security number and then, later on in life, matched with a photograph on a driving license or passport for identification purposes.
Unfortunately, identity theft exists too often in our world. And we easily associate a thief as someone who goes to great length to keep their real identity secret. At the other extreme, someone who has an inflated ego might want to make a name for themselves, so that the world will take notice of them and their name will be remembered in history, or at least significant enough to be mentioned in wikipedia!
But before the universe came into existence, God had already given each one of us a unique name, known to him, a name that he has carefully sequenced into the unique pattern of our DNA and threaded through the fabric of our soul. God calls us out of the crowd by that name.
By careful reflection and discernment, through testing and through trial, cooperating with the grace of God, our whole life's journey is marked responding to that eternal calling out to God. This way, we can know who we truly are and how our individual lives might reflect our God-given identity.
This is what we do when we respond to our unique God-given vocation in life. Many will find their God-given identity through the vocation of marriage and family life. Yet there are some, even among us here today, to whom God is calling who are destined to find their true identity through the vocation of priesthood.
To help young men to discern if God has called them by name to be his future priests in the family of the Church, and to remind us all to pray for an increase of vocations to the priesthood, next Sunday will see two visiting seminarians from our local St. Francis Center who will speak to us of how they are trying to listen to the voice of God - to discover if he is calling young men of our parish by name to be the Church's future priests, to the praise and glory of God.
In the meantime, us ask the Holy Spirit to awaken within ourselves a sense of our own God-given vocation - that each one of us has been brought into this world by God for a particular reason, a divine purpose. And if we forget, God will himself lay himself down on our doorstep, not to trip us up, nor to be an obstacle as to how our life must enfold each day. God disguises himself in the poor, the unloved, the sick and the forgotten of our throwaway culture. He does so, not to make us feel guilty or force us to push aside an irritant. Rather, there are many around us God calls Lazarus. God send them to save us, and as a forceful reminder we all share a common home, common dignity and destiny. Refreshed by the Bread of Life, may Christ's words and presence reignite our common vocation to help each other to taste a bit of heaven here on earth, so that one day we might all enjoy it eternally with Abraham and all the saints forever.
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