I've got a question for you. After looking over Luke's Gospel, what's your window of opportunity? Hold that thought for a bit. You've got to love the Old Testament for its ability to get your attention with vibrant language and imagery. Likewise, today's gospel of Lazarus and the rich man should be a wake-up call to emulate Christ's love with those we see every day—while we have the chance.
Today's scripture paints a powerful picture of leadership, unlike anything the world offers. It's not about titles, authority, or personal gain. It's about a radical shift in perspective—from seeking to be served to serving with love and truth. We, as families, are the foundation of society. It's within our homes that the seeds of leadership are first sown. We are the architects who shape the character and values of the next generation, but imagine if our leadership wasn't about controlling or dictating but about empowering and inspiring?
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When Pope Pius IX died in 1878 after 32 years, he would be the longest papal reign since Saint Peter himself. It appears the cardinal electors wanted to choose a relatively older person to succeed him. They elected 68-year-old Cardinal Pecci, thinking he would only last a few years. However, on his 90th birthday, when a nun toasted Pope Leo XIII by shouting, “Holy Father, may you live to be 100,” the pope exclaimed, “Why put limits on God?” When he returned to the Father’s House in 1903, he celebrated 25 years as pope. This feast of the Chair of St. Peter is our family celebration.
Moses' message to the Israelites and us reaches a decision point when he says, "I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse….choose life." What led up to that dichotomous choice was the promise that if the Israelites obeyed God's commandments and walked with God lovingly, they would prosper, as would their future generations.
This week, we begin Lent with Ash Wednesday. A week or two ago, I was speaking with someone who was saying, “I’m not ready for Lent…”. Winter is dragging on, I’m ready for spring, and now we have this season of penance. But I encouraged them to make Lent their favorite season — lean into it — ask God for a love for Lent.
The other night, around nine p.m., I was taking out the trash and feeling like I’d run out of energy, and it was only Monday. That’s when I ran into an older woman who was coming in with groceries. I said hello and asked how her husband was doing. She explained that he’s in a skilled nursing facility, and there are some challenges. But then she said he had a great visit from a chaplain who came to visit, and they prayed “our prayer.” She then went on to pray a beautiful prayer, and her face lit up as she told me that she and her husband had said prayer together for decades every night, and they still do.