It seems every week, if not every day – Pope Francis, in his down to earth, direct way, hits the mark. This past week, in one of his daily homilies the Pope shared, “good works, do not keep well in the fridge.”
“Good Works,” said the Pope, “need to be shared the minute there is a need.”
The Pope continued, “reacting to someone in need by thinking, ‘I’ll take care of it tomorrow,’ is a classic, recurring form of hiding the light of faith given to each Christian person at Baptism.”
Today in the Gospel we hear Jesus in a story try to “raise the consciousness of people” to “respond to the needs of people in front of them.” In reflecting upon today’s Gospel, two words came to mind: complacency and indifference – that seem to be a growing part of our society.
As I thought more about the reality of complacency and indifference, I came across an article that stated, “complacency is akin to something called ‘RUSTOUT.'” Said the authors, “Rustout is more common in America than in other developed countries and it is actually even scarier than burnout because, while burnout can wear down your body, “Rustout” can wipe out your soul and spirit.
Shared the authors, “*Rustout is the slow death that follows when we stop making the choices that keep life alive. It is the feeling of numbness that comes from taking the safe way, never accepting new challenges, continually surrendering to the day-to-day routine. Rustout means we are no longer growing, but at best, are simply maintaining.”
The authors ended by sharing, “*Rustout is the opposite of burnout. Burnout is overdoing – Rustout is under-being.”
Jesus’s story about Lazarus and the rich man seem to belong to a time long ago and a place far away – but many Lazarus’s are at our gates whom we often overlook, ignore, dismiss.
Today, Lazarus may be the person in need we see on the street or TV each day; Lazarus may be the relative or friend that we have just not caught up with because we are busy; Lazarus may be sitting at the desk right next to us; Lazarus may even be sitting at our dinner table every night.
Both Jesus and Pope Francis are reminding us that every human being is created in the image of God and we are called to embrace one another as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of God.
In the process of growing and living our Baptismal Faith, may we as person, family and parish continue to put into practice words of Pope Francis, “good works, do not keep well in the fridge. Good works need to be shared the minute there is a need.”
*Footnote to Homily: See: The Rustout Syndrome, an Article by Richard Leider & Steve Buchholtz.