Thursday, March 09, 2023

Feast of St. Frances of Rome

In today’s gospel is tbd story of the rich man (unnamed) and poor beggar named Lazarus, who was lying at the entrance to the rich man’s house. The rich man lived and dressed in luxury, ignoring the suffering of Lazarus, obliviously walking over him as he left or entered his house. After both died, Lazarus resting on the “bosom of Abraham” in eternal joy, while the UNNAMED rich man is “spending” his eternity in spiritual pain. Even in this horrible state, he wants Lazarus to “serve” him by  dripping cool water in his dreadfully dry mouth!!!

Lazarus comes in countless human expressions. I have included a photo of a sculpture that sits in St. Peter’s Square called “Sheltering,” a powerful depiction of migrants, refugees, the homeless, the poor from every culture, country, race and walk of life. They are searching to be welcomed and embraced. Their humanity BEGS recognition. They yearn to be named!!!

A Lenten gift: try and learn the name of ONE homeless human being and acknowledge them. If you can’t get out to physically encounter someone, imagine a human being, give that person a name and entrust that person the Christ. Watch the news for a real life image of a “Lazarus,” and pray for that person. If possible, be bold and have a conversation with the person you encounter.

Opening your eyes to “Lazarus” will plant you in the soil of Christ’s Kingdom…. Here and NOW!!!
“NOW is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor: 6:2)

St. Frances of Rome lived in the 15-16th centuries. Married. Widowed. Experienced the early deaths of her three sons. Dedicated the rest of her life to caring for the poor and homeless, the Lazarus’s of her day. I’ll bet she learned their names!!