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Gospel for Sunday, August 28 Luke 14: 1.7-14

XXII Sunday C

1One Saturday he entered the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees to have lunch and the people were watching him…7Then observing how the guests chose the first places, he told them a parable: 8“When you are invited to a wedding by someone, do not put yourself first, lest there be another guest more notable than you 9and he who invited you and him come and say to you: Give him the place! Then you will have to occupy the last place with shame. 10Instead, when you are invited, go and put yourself in the last place, so that when the one who invited you comes, he will say to you: Friend, move forward. Then you will have honor in front of all your guests. 11For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” 12Then he said to the one who had invited him: «When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends, nor your brothers, nor your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in turn. and you have the reciprocation. 13On the contrary, when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; 14and you will be blessed because they do not have to repay you. In fact, you will receive your reward at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Luke 14: 1.7-14

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (www.buonabibbiaatutti.it).

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

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From “Church for the Poor” to “Church of the Poor”

Pope Francis states: “The preferential option for the poor is at the center of the Gospel. And the first to do it was Jesus. He, being rich, made himself poor to enrich us. He became one of us and for this reason, at the center of the Gospel, at the center of Jesus’ announcement there is this option. Christ himself, who is God, emptied himself, making himself similar to men; and he did not choose a life of privilege, but he chose the condition of a servant (see Phil 2:6-7). He destroyed himself by becoming a servant. At the beginning of his preaching, he announced that in the Kingdom of God the poor are blessed (see Mt 5.3; Lk 6.20). He was among the sick, the poor, the excluded, showing them the merciful love of God (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2444)”.

The Church is therefore faithful to the mission of its Founder only if, as Monsignor Helder Camara, the prophetic bishop of Recife and Olinda, said, she becomes “servant and poor, and servant of the poor”. As Paul VI wrote: “Church, have a sense of the true and profound needs of humanity; and she walks poor, that is, free, strong and loving towards Christ”. Benedict XVI also hoped for a “Church

poor and free. This is how the Ecclesial Community must be in order to be able to speak to contemporary humanity” and above all to be faithful to its Lord.

But we are called to take a further step. We are often a Church “for the poor”: it is the praiseworthy action of many men and women religious and lay people in the various Caritas, Misericordia, listening centres, volunteer groups, reception centres, etc.

But it needs to become, as Pope John XXIII said, “Church of the poor”: “The Church is the Church of everyone, but today more than ever it is the Church of the poor”. A Church where the poor are not just the beneficiaries, the recipients of the charity of some. But where are the protagonists? Where they are members of the Diocesan and Parish Councils, animators of the Liturgy and Catechesis, co-responsible for charitable initiatives. Where they feel like actors, at home, fully integrated into every order and level of the community.

It is one of the most distressing tragedies of the Church today that the poor do not see the light, the comfort, the hope in it: that our Churches do not regurgitate the poor, that all the marginalized and the suffering do not flock to our communities to find acceptance, redemption, liberation, integration. “The poor belong to the understanding of the true nature of the Church…, but the Church does not recognize itself in the poor, and the poor do not recognize Christ in the Church. But this is a situation of lost identity, of self-alienation for the Church, a situation in which the Church is not entirely the Church. The Church that is not the Church of the poor seriously jeopardizes its ecclesial character” (J. de S. Ana).

Pope Francis states that Jesus’ phrase: “You always have the poor with you” (Mk 14.7) “also indicates this: their presence among us is constant, but must not lead to a habit that it becomes indifference, but rather involvement in a sharing of life that does not allow delegations. The poor are not people “external” to the community, but brothers and sisters with whom to share… It is known that a gesture of charity presupposes a benefactor and a beneficiary, while sharing generates brotherhood. Almsgiving is occasional; sharing, on the other hand, is lasting. The first risks rewarding those who carry it out and humiliating those who receive it; the second strengthens solidarity and lays the necessary premises to achieve justice. In short, believers, when they want to see Jesus in person and touch him with their hands, know where to turn: the poor are the sacrament of Christ, they represent his person and refer to him”.

And this without even looking at their moral qualities, as the Lord teaches us in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, in which Jesus places the rich man in hell only because of the abundance of his goods, and Lazarus “in Abraham’s bosom” alone because they are poor on earth, regardless of their internal dispositions. Indeed, the rich man even seems… a pious man, who in infernal torments is concerned about the salvation of his brothers, and who implores for them a clearer revelation on the use of riches. But he is damned because he is rich: this scandalized Jerome to such an extent that in the Vulgate he allowed himself to independently add “but no one gave him any” to the verse that describes Lazarus’ desire to participate in the rich man’s goods (Lk 16.21), just to at least blame the rich man for his insensitivity to the poor. Pope Francis says in this regard: “In this context it is also good to remember the words of Saint John Chrysostom: «Whoever is generous must not ask for an account of conduct, but only to improve the condition of poverty and satisfy need. The poor have only one defense: their poverty and the condition of need in which they find themselves. Don’t ask him anything else; but even if he were the most evil man in the world, if he lacks the necessary nourishment, let’s free him from hunger… The merciful man is a port for those in need: you too, therefore, when you see a man on land who has suffered shipwreck of poverty, do not judge, do not ask an account of his conduct, but free him from misfortune” (Discourses on poor Lazarus, II, 5)”.

Becoming friends of the poor

Another step of conversion is required of us, perhaps the most difficult: not only helping the poor, but making them friends. In fact, the Lord tells us: “Make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it disappears they may welcome you into eternal homes” (Lk 16:9); “When you offer a lunch or dinner, do not invite your friends, nor your brothers, nor your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in turn and you receive the reciprocation. When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind; and you will be blessed, because they do not have to repay you. For you will receive your reward at the resurrection of the righteous” (Luke 14:12-14).

We are therefore asked not only to share economically, but to have affection, to make them participate in our lives, our family, our group and our community.

When we have a party, do we surround ourselves with the last ones? Are they our best friends? And are our Eucharistic banquets, our liturgies, attended by the poor or by the usual round of “good people”? Yet the poor will be the “gatekeepers” of Paradise, who will “welcome us into the eternal homes or not”…

This is the most tiring point: if you become friends with a poor person, you take on all his problems, you are not at peace until you have solved them for him, and maybe he is not even nice or grateful: maybe he is pretentious, arrogant, he stresses you out. at any time of the day and maybe even at night, he treats you badly if you give him advice he doesn’t like, or if you can’t find a way to help him…

Pope Francis warns us: “Let us make our own the heartfelt words of Don Primo Mazzolari: «I would like to ask you not to ask me if there are poor people, who they are and how many there are, because I fear that similar questions represent a distraction or a pretext to deviate from a precise indication of the conscience and the heart… I have never counted the poor, because they cannot

count: the poor embrace each other, they are not counted.” The poor are among us. How evangelical it would be if we could say with all truth: we too are poor, because only in this way would we be able to truly recognize them and make them become part of our life and an instrument of salvation”.

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at migliettacarlo@gmail.com.

Source

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