A popular TV program years ago was Who's the Boss. It was a popular program in its day and, I suspect, would still have a following on those channels that play the old (good) programs from yesteryear. Amongst the setting of this contrived family, we saw the various situations develop, but always with a pretty good ending.
Today, I'm not sure many people really understand who their boss ought to be. In the free-for-all of today's society, a person can be influenced by many others and, in a way, become their boss. I think that a lot of people allow the desire to acquire wealth, power, prestige, and influence become the ruling factor and these things become the "boss" of their lives. I suggest that the ending of these lives will not be a pretty, funny, or positive as that old TV show. Many may very well be surprised at the end of their lives if they don't make changes.
They could even end up like the rich man is today's Gospel message (the story of Dives (rich man) and Lazarus. Well, old Dives ends up in a pretty nasty place and begs Father Abraham to help. But, alas, no help can be provided. In his final plea he asks for Lazarus to be allowed to return to earth to haunt his brothers, who are enjoying the fruits of their labors in a rather lavish way, and warn them of their impending doom. But,
31Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.
Oops! That didn't work out to well for old Dives, or his brothers presumably. These parables really are frustrating for us because we believe that success is found in the lavish lives of the rich and famous and powerful. Jesus tells several stories like this throughout the Gospels. The ending is always the same: bad news for the selfish, rich guy.
That bad news is because of their selfish, excessive consumption which permeates their nature. In all of these stories, these folks don't bother with the poor guy sitting on the front door step. They are unaware of his existence and overlook him completely - much to their own and eventual demise.
I suggest that our society is in big trouble if this trend continues. Watching the old movies about ancient Rome, one cannot but reflect upon much of what goes on today and just wonder if that will be our fate as well. Things got pretty well out of hand toward the end and, well, let's just say that everything fell apart pretty rapidly. Will that be our end as a country as well?
I know how difficult it is to try to live a life following a code of conduct not of your own making. But, each of us must choose how to live our lives by some standard; better a standard that challenges us to be better than to just follow our animal instincts.
A long time ago I chose to become a Franciscan, living the life of St. Francis in the secular world as a lay person. This has been a large challenge for me, because I know that I am far from being a sinless person. I have recognized, as I have grown older, that I personally have many faults that others have had to deal with through my 69 years. But, I persist in trying to follow the LORD God, Creator of the Universe and the code of conduct that he established -- especially the one given to Moses, passed on through the Prophets of the Old Testament and finally the example of his incarnate Son, Jesus of Nazareth.
I do know that this LORD God is present in my life, because from early on I had this important realization that something was calling me to a better life. When I discovered that I had Hodgkin's disease right before my senior year in high school, I held onto my faith and I believe that it paid off. Some forty years later the treatments for Hodgkin's came home to roost and I ended up at Mayo Clinic having an Aortic valve replaced. It was my faith that carried me through that experience. Now some 12 years later, I am still here trying to figure out what it is God wants for me, but I AM still alive making the effort.
I know in my heart that the LORD God wants me to keep trying to live the right way and to tell others about how important it is to try to live this kind of life. That is one of the major reasons that I began this blog months ago; because I believe that through this life together we can find solutions to our problems in this country together and keep it going a while longer.
Two scriptures for today highlight that emphasis of the LORD God on my life:
7Blessed are those who trust in the LORD;
the LORD will be their trust.d
8They are like a tree planted beside the waters
that stretches out its roots to the stream:
It does not fear heat when it comes,
Its leaves stay green;
In the year of drought it shows no distress,
but still produces fruit.e
1Blessed is the man who does not walk
in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the way* of sinners,
nor sit in company with scoffers.a
2Rather, the law of the LORD* is his joy;
and on his law he meditates day and night.b
The LORD God comforts and nourishes me. He cares for me. He loves me as one of his children. He shows me that we all are His carefully created brothers and sisters and that we should, no must, love each other as He loves us.
That is why so many of my entries ask and plead for a saner approach to human relationships in our country today. I certainly hope that this message will inspire even a few people to try to move beyond their selfish attitude and help someone else have a better day, every day.
No one has joined this blog since I began it many months ago. I don't even know if anyone is reading it. I only hope and pray that eventually someone will see these messages and begin a group in their own community dedicated to changing how we relate with each other. Only through these small beginnings can we change the direction of our country.
May God Give You Peace!