This is a syndicated post from Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse. [Read the original article...]
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…When the poor man died, he was carried away…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…”
When someone starts to concentrate on just their body, they typically end up being a jerk. It’s as if the protein enzymes responsible for muscles growth are the same that makes one’s head explode!
A looong time ago, back in the 1970’s, there was a little girl in 6th grade named Peggy (that’s not her real name). She was a sweet little girl that happened to be a bit overweight. Many boys in my class would call her names, like Piggy. I’m sure I was one of them. But like immature boys often do, we focused our attention on one thing only: her body. We never paid much attention to the fact that Peggy was extremely intelligent, extremely funny and always seemed to be very happy. Now, I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that those who are slightly plump tend to have the characteristic of being able to laugh at themselves and with others with ease! What a gift to one’s character!)
Anyways, all of this changed in 7th grade.
When we came back to school after summer recess, our jaws fell to the ground and we could hardly believe our eyes. Peggy was four inches taller and slim! I have to say, she was stunningly beautiful. She had grown in height and that’s all she needed to do. Her weight was perfect. Her height was perfect. Her body was perfect (At least in the eyes of all the boys in 7th grade).
But unfortunately, her body affected her brain!
Peggy was no longer smart. Looking back at it, I am convinced she faked being so stupid so as to stand side by side with the rest of the girls (and most of us boys). She was no longer funny. She was very serious. She was serious on getting a reputation, of casting aside her past and creating a dark new future. She had more boyfriends in one year than I could count on my hands and feet. She went through boys like she went through the corridors. And of course, the boys enjoyed every minute of it. And instead of calling her Piggy, they now called her a pig.
By the time we entered High School, Peggy was already one lost soul.
Well, as there is a strange relationship between one’s body and one’s attitude, the same holds true for one’s wealth. It seems as though the wealthier we are the blinder we get. And I don’t mean “blind” with regards to poverty. I mean blind to one’s own miseries. Wealthy people are miserable people, and yet we never think of them as being miserable because we never talk about anything other than wealth!
For example, we talk a lot about how much longer Americans are living, but we never talk about how miserable they are! And I don’t think we want to, because if we did, then we would need to talk about the collapse of the family, and most of us don’t really want to go there. We don’t want to examine how the “Modern Family” typically abandons their elderly parents or how broken marriages, multiple wives and a bunch of half-brothers and sisters weaken family bonds.
We don’t want to talk about how they feel alone, abandoned and betrayed, and we definitely don’t want to talk about how the rate of STD’s has nearly doubled among the elderly!
Instead, we prefer to pound our chest and remind the world of the average income of Americans. But what we don’t want to do is talk about how millions of Americans are making themselves ill by spending working lives sitting down; or even how our pets, let alone our children, are getting more and more obese (Not even height will change that!). Instead, we prefer to look in the direction of Africa, give a big sigh of anguish, and wonder how we can help them, rather than look at ourselves and see how maybe they can actually help us…before it is too late!
The rich man said to Abraham, “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 to 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.”
We read a lot of newspapers. We watch a lot of news. We enjoy a lot of TV programs. We listen to what they have to say. But will we ever listen to what God has to say?
Resolution: I will trust in God’s Word, God’s Commandments and God’s love more than in human beings.
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- lk 16:19-31