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4 October – 27th Sunday in Ordinary time

30 November, 1999

27th Sunday in Ordinary time

Theme: The Sacrament of the Sick: Suffering 1V

Liturgical Text: ‘But no helpmate suitable for man was found for him.’ (1st Reading); ‘ … Let the Eucharist we share fill us with your life.’ (Prayer after Communion)

Homily Notes:
One of the greatest sufferings today is that of loneliness.
Suffering can be borne more courageously and generously when you are with others who suffer too, and who suffer more than you would have thought possible.
There are so many old people living alone as well as young people in solitary bed-sitters.

Widows, widowers, divorced and single have this cross to bear. For these and indeed for all, the practice of the aware­ness of the continual abiding presence of God is invaluable.

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote in his diary: ‘I’ve been to church today, and I’m not depressed!’ Had he united his suf­ferings with those of Jesus? Have we?

Mother Teresa in London: ‘I think people in England do not know their poor, and because they don’t know them, it’s very difficult to love them, and still more difficult to serve them. If you could only bring the people face to face. For ex­ample, a Sister is trying to get a shelter, a home where we can bring in these people who are dying of cold outside, so old and so unwanted and so unloved and so lonely. I think this is the greatest poverty that a human being has to go through.
I think they know in figures but they don’t know face to face. lhere are people who are sleeping in the streets of London, and there are people who have to use cardboard for sleeping on, and there are people who are shivering and nearly half­frozen in the midst of London. Others have no time, they have no time for people like that. And this not having1ime is the greatest suffering for our poor people. They are not wanted. Also there is another kind of suffering here, the loneliness of our old people living by themselves in one little room. Even the next-door neighbour doesn’t know their name and never
thinks of giving them a glass of water. This is the greatest, . greatest disease in the world today.’ (Source unknown)

We see people, not as they are, but as we are.
An active young woman showed signs of stress and strain. The doctor prescribed tranquillisers and asked her to report to him after a couple of weeks.
When she came back he asked her if she felt any different. She said, ‘No. I don’t. But I’ve observed that other people
. seem a little more relaxed.’

‘C;:. A retired Italian professor, widowed and with a daughter living abroad, found himself alone just outside Rome with only his books and seven cats for company. His income was not enough to pay for an old people’s home so he placed an advert in a newspaper offering £500 to any family willing to adopt him as a grandfather. It changed his life. Deluged with replies he finally agreed to go to teach classes to a couple’s teenage son. ‘Solitude is the biggest problem for the elderly who are not dying of hunger,’ said one member of the European Parliament.

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