Ordinary Time 26, Year B-2009
- Living the truth in love (Eph. 4:15)
A September 9, 2009 Zenit article reported on the International Prayer for Peace that took place recently in Krakow . This meeting “was attended by numerous personalities and representatives of different religions, who gathered to reflect together and pray for peace on the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II.”
Zenit also reported last September 11 that the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue—in its message for the end of the month of Ramadan—called upon Muslims and Christians to unite in the common goal of overcoming poverty . The message considers tackling poverty to be a necessity if extremism and violence are to be confronted. After all, “poverty has the power to humiliate and to engender intolerable sufferings; it is often a source of isolation, anger, even hatred and the desire for revenge.” Poverty “can provoke hostile actions using any available means, even seeking to justify them on religious grounds, or seizing another man’s wealth, together with his peace and security, in the name of an alleged ‘divine justice.’”
And MSNBC featured an AP report about a synagogue in Virginia that doubled as a mosque during the month of Ramadan . The article quotes Muslim Imam Mohamed Magid as saying: “People look to Jewish-Muslim relationship as conflict. Here is a story that shatters the stereotype.” Rabbi Robert Nosanchuk says, for his part: “You really only get to know someone when you invite them into your home ... you learn to recognize their faces. You learn the names of their children.”
All this gives me a glimpse of what it would be like if I were not such an alarmist, so controlling and so protective of my own or my own group’s interests. I should really dream as Moses did, wishing that all the people of the Lord were prophets and that the Lord bestow his spirit on them all. I truly ought to follow Jesus more closely so that I may understand him better when he says: “There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.”
And they are definitely not against Jesus but are for him those who reach out to the least of his brothers and sisters by working, and engaging others, to end the poverty that needs combating by way of embracing the poverty that, in the words of the above-mentioned September 11 Vatican document, “predisposes us to go beyond ourselves, expanding the heart.” To so end poverty by embracing poverty is to do as Jesus Christ did—he became poor to relieve human poverty (2 Cor. 8:9), giving his body up and shedding his blood for all (Mt. 26:26-28).
Thus too did St. Vincent de Paul assist the poor and have others as well to assist them. Because he invited poor Lazarus to the table, Vincent should surely stand out—for all those who consider themselves Abraham’s children and trace back to him the beginning of their faith—as an eminent and credible son of the Father of believers, warning the unrighteous rich, in the manner of James, of the righteous God’s impending judgment.