What Does it Take to Believe?

Week of September 25, 2016

In the Gospel story, the poor man Lazarus who was lifted up to the bosom of Abraham, is spotted by the rich man suffering in the flames of torment.  He pleads with Father Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead to warn them of their ways.  The rich man senses that if someone would come back from the dead it would get the attention of those whose lives are so filled with busyness.  What does it take now to capture our attention?  We are inundated with news of killings in the city.  We are filled with political bickering. What is the wow factor that makes us sit up and listen?

Jesus has come back from the dead.  The Resurrection has occurred.  The Resurrected One comes to us in the Body and Blood shared at the Eucharist.  Is this capturing our attention?   Do we realize Jesus, who sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for us, does not want the distance between heaven and earth to be a barrier, so He enters the here and now for us?  Heaven and earth, that which is eternal, comes to that which will pass away.  That which is unending comes to a place where everything in existence is terminal.

The awe of the Eucharist overwhelms me.  In reflecting on it I get drawn into its simplicity, its non-negotiable expression of the Real Presence of God.  It allows me to experience the deep desire of a loving God in the triumph of the Trinity, to sacrifice over and over again the Beloved and inviting the Holy Spirit to make ready the hearts of the faithful.  What more do we need to believe?

There is a story about an old collector who passed away and the estate was going to sell all of the paintings at auction.  The world of collectors assembled with great anticipation.  At the appointed time the first painting was brought out.  It was a child’s drawing, a simple self-portrait.  As the auctioneer asked for an opening bid, no one raised their hand.  It was not what they expected to start the auction.  They wanted to see the depth and glory of all of the priceless pieces of art that this collector collected.  Once again the announcement was made about the simple sketch of a self-portrait.  Finally a person bid on it to get the program moving.  No one else countered the bid.  It was sold for a mere few dollars.  Then the auctioneers stated that the sale was complete and there would be no more showings.  The collectors were outraged.  They came to see the vast galleries of the gems of the ages.  They protested and said this must be a mistake.

The auctioneer said that this was not a mistake.  He stated that the self-portrait was of the collector’s son.  He said the entire collection went to the one who bought the self-portrait.  He said in the collector’s will, he stated that if someone could not respect his son, then neither would that person respect the collection.  We are called to respect the Son.  We are called to believe in the Son of God.  He has risen from the dead.

What are we waiting for?

Rev. John J. Ouper