March 13, 2009

Insensitive Dolls

Thursday - 2nd Week of Lent
Luke 16: 19-31 “And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus,
covered with sores”

A couple married for 60 years had shared and talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the wife had a shoe box in her cabinet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about it.

For all of these years, the man had never thought about the box. But when the wife was about to die, she agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box. When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totalling P 100,000.

He asked her about the contents. “My grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll.” The man was so moved; he had to fight back tears. Only two dolls were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living together. He finally cried out of joy. “Honey,” he said, “that explains the doll, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?”

“Oh, I forgot to tell you.” she said, “That’s the money I earned from selling dolls.”

We may have laughed with the story. But if God will have to crochet dolls out of our own insensitivity to others, I’m sure God will also earn a good amount of money.

Our gospel for today is about the sin of insensitivity. In the story, it was not explicitly mentioned that the rich man was an evil man or immoral. But we were told that the poor man Lazarus was always at the door of the rich man’s house, begging for food scraps and dogs licking his sores. Luke gave us a very graphic description of Lazarus’ ordeal and suffering, in the hope it would make us uneasy and uncomfortable, and turn our eyes to Lazarus in the process. Unfortunately, the rich man did not.

In general, we are basically good Christians, incapable of committing heinous crimes that deserve death penalty. But we could fall short from the devil’s most reliable and effective trap: Insensitivity. Webster describes insensitivity as “asleep, dead, insensible, numb, unfeeling, and unaware.” Are you like these?

We are surrounded by our own “Lazaruses” in our life. Ironically, we see them everyday. We frequently mingle with them. We know them well. They are always at our doorsteps begging for mercy and love; but its either we deliberately closed our eyes on them or we failed to notice them: a beggar, a neighbour, a co-teacher, an old janitor, a garbage collector. Some of them are in our house: a bedridden aunt, a sick but very demanding grandfather, an overstaying jobless relative, an ugly houseboy or katulong. And some of them are so near and very dear to us but we ignore, hurt and abuse them with our unkind words, uncharitable action and cold treatment: an under-achiever daughter, a jobless brother, an old smelly grandfather, an uneducated sister-in-law, or an unforgiven husband or mother. What they need from us is not our money but mercy and love. They just want a little respect and care. A smile. A consoling words like “kumusta ka na? or thank you” A tap to their shoulders. To be recognized and appreciated. To be accepted. To be listened. To be forgiven. To be seen.

Who are the Lazaruses in your life? Open your eyes. If you can’t see them, you cannot see God.

"We may have civilized bodies and yet barbarous souls. We are blind to the real sights of this world; deaf to its voice; and dead to its death. And not till we know, that one grief outweighs ten thousand joys will we become what Christianity is striving to make us." - Herman Melville

- Fr.Willy M. Samson
Fort Pilar, Zamboanga City
March 12, 2009

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