Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Transfiguration

УКРАЇНСЬКA КАТОЛИЦЬКA ЦЕРКВА ПРЕОБРАЖЕННЯ ГОСПОДНЬОГО

Lord, open our eyes!

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  • Open our eyes, Lord
  • God of all, you made the earth and saw that it was good,
  • but like robbers we have stripped it of its treasure.
  • Open our eyes, Lord.
  • Now the earth cries out and your people hunger and thirst.
  • Open our eyes, Lord.
  • Open our eyes to see the pain of your creation and move us with compassion for your world.
  • Open our eyes, Lord.
  • Open our eyes, Lord.
  • Lead us to act as neighbours, who do not pass by on the other side.
  • So that together we may care for all that you have made and with all creation sing your praise.
  • Open our eyes, Lord.

(CAFOD: C Gorman)

On this, our 6th week of intentional and transformational actions taken together as a parish, may we stay strong in the faith that our small steps, united here and with this movement of actions worldwide, will indeed cause positive change, in ourselves and in the world. 

While Canadians might have felt sheltered from the immediacy of the climate crisis, the disaster this week in BC erases any feelings of complacency. Our actions towards ecological conversion are critical and teach us anew just how fundamentally interconnected we are with all creation.

Luke’s parable this Sunday (16:19-31), describes how easily we ignore our responsibility to each other when we ourselves are comfortable. The story is simple: rich man ignores poor man. Rich man goes to hell; poor man to heaven. The rich man is remorseful, but it is too late. Listeners—be forewarned!!! Yikes!

Before we panic, or find relief in the fact that we can’t be that rich, let’s take a closer look.

Who is this rich man? What is his name? What do we know about him?

What do we know of the poor man?

If you’re like me, you’ll think you’ve forgotten the name of the rich man, but in fact the rich man is not named; he could be any person who has what anyone wants: nice food, clothes, a house with a gate, and lots of siblings whom he cares about. Is it a sin to be wealthy? No. Wealth is not the problem here. The problem is what he sees and does not see. The problem is relationship with all creation. In the parable, the rich man only sees Lazarus once they have both died. The man sees Lazarus only once he himself is suffering. Nevertheless, he sees the difference between them as an unbridgeable chasm. He sees Lazarus only because he is with Abraham: the great Patriarch. The rich man now acknowledges Lazarus because Lazarus might help him. What was the rich man’s sin? In life, although Lazarus sat at the man’s gate—he did not see him. The difference between them was so great for the rich man, that Lazarus was invisible to him. The wealthy man did not abuse or ridicule the poor man; he simply did not see him or need him. He felt he had all he needed. Being self-sufficient—a success in the eyes of his peers—he was oblivious not only to Lazarus at his gate, but to God’s presence in his life.

And what about Lazarus? Does being poor make him holy? No. Poverty is not a virtue any more than is wealth. However, Lazarus could not be distracted by riches into believing that he didn’t need God and others. Lazarus had a relationship with heaven; Abraham calls him by name, and for this reason, we too know this sick begging character as a loved son of Abraham.

This week let’s add to our growing list of actions, the need to recognize individuals in our life whom we haven’t acknowledged as our equals. This would vary for each of us. Who, for me, is outside of my scope of caring? Might it be an estranged family member? Members of a foreign culture or religion? Perhaps the victims of domestic abuse, illuminated by the walk Aleksandra is doing this weekend or those in countries still waiting for COVID vaccines? Do I fail to see those who work without a decent wage, so that I can buy goods cheaply? 

We are connected to each other and to our surrounding environment. This week, let’s try to bridge the chasms that divide us and open our eyes to the beauty of the Spirit connecting us all.

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