Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo, Bishop
Readings: Rom 14:7-12; PS 27:1bcde, 4, 13-14; Lk 15:1-10
Notes: The modern Church should take note of this.
In my opinion, in this time and place, the Church acts or fails to act in charity.
During the plague and famine of 1576, Borromeo tried to feed 60,000 to 70,000 people daily. To do this he borrowed large sums of money that required years to repay. Whereas the civil authorities fled at the height of the plague, he stayed in the city, where he ministered to the sick and the dying, helping those in want.
How do we measure our response to COVID-19? Collectively, as Church, how did we respond?
How did the civil authorities respond?
In a way, I am suggesting we reversed roles.
- The civil authorities stepped up: vaccine, cash, food, housing, grants, PPP, debt forgiveness.
- The Church hid: whining about worship times, whining about vaccines, whining about collections, isolating from the people (a little dramatic, it is the CONTRAST that is important).
Which acted with confidence?
Saint Charles Borromeo made his own the words of Christ: “…I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me” (Matthew 25:35-36). Borromeo saw Christ in his neighbor, and knew that charity done for the least of his flock was charity done for Christ.
Brothers and sisters: each of us shall give an account of himself to God.
I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest, says the Lord.
The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus.
Listening to Jesus is the way of conversion. Do you think the tax collector and sinners were unaware of their own situation? Rather, they knew, and they were looking to be found by God. In some ways their efforts to find and be found was more authentic.
I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.
We tend to think we know who will respond to Jesus. Our bias is usually – people just like me.
It is so that we do not know anything of the sort.
Those who seem the furthest away sometimes are the ones closest to seeing the Lord.
And vice versa.
We don’t know.
We can’t judge.
We simply need to act.
a) 100 Sheep – all the sheep were put to risk to find the lost one.
b) 10 Coins – all the effort of the woman was on recovering the lost coin.
c) 2 Sons (this story is next in the gospel chapter you are reading today).
Read The Parable of the Lost Son. https://bible.usccb.org/bible/luke/15?11
In the third example, the complete focus of the Father was the return of the Son and the reconciliation of the Sons to one another. And so should our focus me.
Live the gospel and people will see and hear the gospel message.
REMEMBER: both sons knew the Father. BOTH sons were far away (one, by distance, one by proximity).
Peace be with you,