Deacon Steven Johnson’s Reflection 3-9-23

Second Week of Lent, Thursday, 3-9-23, Year A

Readings: First Reading Jer 17:5-10; Ps 1:1-4,6; Gospel Lk 16:19-31

Optional Memorial: St. Francis of Rome, Religious – Died 1440, Patroness of widows and motorists.

Theme: Self-Service or Service of Self

Jesus said, “the Son of man did not come to be served but to serve.” There you have it. The creator of the universe, the all-powerful, the maker of heaven and earth, the very one that gave us life, says He came to be our servant. God can do anything He wishes to do, yet He does not choose to make us love Him or force us to obey or praise Him, even though He could do that. Instead, He chooses to serve us in the lowest possible sense He can, right down to washing our feet.

It is a good reminder that if we truly believe in Jesus’s Gospel message, we will understand that true holiness is won in service to others.

This service can be clouded when our pride gets the best of us. It is easy to lord it over others, to have people at your beck and call, or to withdraw into our own life and be an island. This latter action is most prevalent and probably most overlooked when we talk about things that prevent us from serving others. In our choice to stay out of the fray or get involved, we can exercise the sin of omission. By omitting ourselves from a situation to help or staying away from doing some good thing that might cost us time or money, we become indifferent and that can be a sin of omission.

The worst thing we can do is think that we are good because we only care about ourselves and how we stay away from sinful actions (I am not my brother’s keeper). We are only concerned with getting ourselves to heaven and not others.

The rich man found this out the hard way. He never mistreated Lazarus or was in any way responsible for what happened to him in his life, yet it was his inaction that was most harmful to Lazarus. The rich man had an opportunity to make Lazarus’s life better, but instead, chose to focus on himself and ignore that man on his front doorstep.

Sometimes we can think we are saints because we live a good spiritual life on our own accord. In other words, we are looking out for number one by making sure we check all the boxes within our spiritual life and the Church. Yet, we do not even realize that our greatest sin is that of omission; “faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” Jas 2:17

When things are comfortable and easy, that is a time to reflect on your life and actions and to see if you are inwardly focused or outwardly focused. Will you lend a hand to the Lazarus at your door or leave him to someone else? Serve instead of being served and your reward will be great in heaven.

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL