You were ransomed … with the precious blood of Christ (1 Pt 1, 18-19)
Wrapped up in our worries and interests, we do not recognize the Risen One in the stranger who joins us. But if we listen to him and then invite him, tired like us from walking, to rest where there is a bit of bread and wine as well as an eave that may shelter us in our sleep (cf A caminar sin ti, Señor, no atino, the pilgrim will soon surprise us with a simple and rich food and open our eyes.
It is normal to have worries and be engrossed in reminiscences of hope and hopelessness. What is abnormal is to remain locked up in them and be without religion, without ties to God or neighbor.
This closeness was touched on during the general audience last April 23. According to Pope Francis, we seek the living among the dead “when we shut ourselves in any form of selfishness or self-complacency; when we allow ourselves to be seduced by worldly powers and by the things of this world, forgetting God and neighbor; when we place our hope in worldly vanities, in money, in success.”
And already in the 17th century St. Vincent de Paul urged missionaries: “Let us go and be about serving the poor with a new love …, recognizing before God that they are our lords and masters” (Coste XI 393). Genuine missionaries do not shut themselves in their security, nor do they say in self-congratulation, “It is I who have done this good work,” for every good should be attributed to God’s grace (Coste XII 92; CM Common Rules XII 3, 4, 14; Coste VII 98, 289).
Both the papal catechesis and the Vincentian talks are surely based on Scriptures, in the account of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, for example, and in the parables of the rich fool and of the rich man and Lazarus. The parables indicate that self-centeredness is clearly revealed in the love of money. Hence, if we remain foolish and slow of heart to believe Scriptures, we will always be in danger of falling into the clutches of havoc-wreaking greed.
Greed is the root of all evils: idolatry—worshiping goods bearing the image of worldly rulers, rather than the Highest Good that created humans beings in its image, the belief that money is almighty, it talks (which Citizens United and McClutcheon seem to confirm, with U.S. Supreme Court decisions being based on inviolable freedom of speech); the traitorous heresy that opposes Mary Magdalene’s gesture and pits concern for the poor against concern for the Savior of the poor; injustices that give rise to war, poverty, sex slavery and marginalization.
But if we clothe ourselves with tender compassion, we will not harvest the bitter fruits of greed. We will discern the body of Christ, and so we will not eat and drink judgment on ourselves. His presence will fill us with joy and wonder.