2019-09-29 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time Rev. Msgr. Michael J. Motta, D.Min.

When the crowds listened to Jesus speak they were often disturbed by his teaching because he was asking them to reform their lives. Sometimes when we hear the words and parables of Jesus, we are not motivated to change our lives because we see them directed to other people at a different time in history.

This morning I have taken the liberty of re-doing the parable of the "Rich Man and Lazarus" and I am trying to make it more contemporary. I do so with the intent of making the words and the meaning of Jesus more relevant and more challenging for us who are modern American Catholics.

There once was a middle-class American who lived in a suburban home with a two-car garage. And barely three hours away by airplane, there lived a poor man named Enrico.

Though Enrico worked very hard, he could never make enough to feed his family. He would gladly have eaten from the garbage cans of the American, but whenever there was a collection for the missions, the American would throw in some money saying:

"That's really pretty generous. After all, money is tight. I can hardly afford to make the payments on my new car."

Years passed and finally Enrico died of malnutrition. He walked through death's door and found himself in Light, rejoicing with Abraham and the angels. The American died from a heart attack one day and was buried. He found himself in a cold empty darkness, utterly separated from God.

When he looked up, the American saw heaven and Enrico was there. He cried out:

"Father in heaven have pity on me and send Enrico here to give me just a little spark of warmth in my cold darkness. I can't stand this awful loneliness!"

But God answered him:

"Remember, my child, that in your lifetime you lived in the wealthiest country in the world, while Enrico starved in poverty. But now he is enjoying himself here, while you are in pain. And besides, there is a deep abyss which separates us, so that no one can get across."

And so the American said:

"Well, then, I beg you, Father in heaven, send Enrico to my old suburbs, where my family and friends live. Let him warn them so that they will not come to this place of pain and loneliness."

But God only said:

"Those in your suburbs have Moses and the prophets. They even have Jesus. Let them listen to what they say."

"That's not enough, Father in heaven, But if someone were to rise from death and go to them, then they would turn from their selfishness."

"No, my child. Someone has already risen from the dead, and they did not listen to Him. It would do no good to send another."

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