Posted by: frburke23 | February 26, 2014

Thought for Thursday, 7th Week in Ordinary Time

Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries.
Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten,
your gold and silver have corroded,
and that corrosion will be a testimony against you;
it will devour your flesh like a fire.
You have stored up treasure for the last days.
Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers
who harvested your fields are crying aloud;
and the cries of the harvesters
have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure;
you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.
You have condemned;
you have murdered the righteous one;
he offers you no resistance.


St. James does not hold anything back.  Today he directs his attention upon the rich who have “lived on earth in luxury and pleasure” while the people who have worked for them were neglected.  All of the gold, silver, and fine clothes will fade away, but the Lord and His Kingdom will never fade away.

This reminds me of the night my mother died in our home.  It was a tragic evening.  She was being treated with chemotherapy for lung cancer and the treatment was working.  However, one night she began to cough and one of the blood vessels in her lung burst.  My dad called 911 and I began to do CPR on my mother because she couldn’t breathe.  And she died in my arms.

When the paramedics arrived at our house they tried to revive her, but I knew that she had died.  As they worked on her, I looked out our picture window and saw her car in the driveway and I saw her purse on the kitchen counter.  It struck me that at this moment as my mother comes face to face with God, God isn’t asking her, “What kind of car did you drive?  How much money did you make?”  I believe that He was asking her something much more fundamental, “How much did you love?”  And my mother taught me and my brothers what love was all about.  She taught us, as Jesus did, that love is laying down your life for others.

There is a fundamental attitude that James is asking us to reflect upon today.  Am I a selfish person, only seeking my own good?  Or am I a generous and loving person, seeking the good of others?  True love is seeking the best for others. 

And Jesus has taught us that we should have a preferential option for the poor.  We may not have people working for us as we hear in this reading today.  But we can get very comfortable with our own material things and forget about those who have no food, shelter or clothing.  Jesus said He would divide the sheep and the goats by looking how we served the “least of our brothers and sisters”. 

From the earliest time in our Church, the poor were valued.  In St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians (1:13-2:10), we hear how Paul, Barnabas and Titus went to Rome to make sure that the gospel that he was preaching was correct.  He spoke to the pillars of the Church, Peter, James and John.  Paul and his companions were encouraged to continue to preach the gospel to the Gentiles.  “The only stipulation was that we should be mindful of the poor.” 

My friends the poor are all around us and we have been blessed so much.  We are all part of the Mystical Body of Christ.  And when one member of the Body suffers, we all do. 

What am I doing to care for the poor?

Do I see all of my blessings as a gift from God to share with others?

How is God calling me to share my gifts with others?

Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke

Here is the Spanish translation:


Vengan ahora, ricos, llorarán y se lamentarán sobre sus miserias inminentes.
Sus riquezas se ha podrido, sus ropas se han convertido en apolillada,
su oro y plata se ha corroído,
y esa corrosión será un testimonio contra ustedes;
devorará sus carnes como fuego.
Han almacenado tesoro para los últimos días.
He aquí, los salarios que retuvieron de los trabajadores
quienes cosecharon sus campos están llorando en voz alta;
y los gritos de los cosechadores
han llegado a los oídos del Señor de los ejércitos.
Han vivido en la tierra en lujo y placer;
han engordado sus corazones para el día de la masacre.
Han condenado;
han asesinado al justo;
El les ofrece ninguna resistencia.


Santiago no oculta nada. Hoy él dirige su atención sobre los ricos que han “vivido en la tierra en lujo y placer”, mientras que las personas que han trabajado para ellos eran descuidadas. Todo el oro, plata, y ropas finas se desvanecerán, pero el Señor y su Reino nunca se desvanecerán.

Esto me recuerda la noche que mi madre murió en nuestra casa. Fue una noche trágica. Ella estaba siendo tratada con quimioterapia para el cáncer de pulmón y el tratamiento estaba funcionando. Sin embargo, una noche ella comenzó a toser y uno de los vasos sanguíneos de su pulmón exploto. Mi papá llamó al 911 y yo comencé a hacerle CPR/RCP a mi madre porque ella no podía respirar. Y murió en mis brazos.

Cuando los paramédicos llegaron a la casa trataron de revivirla, pero yo sabía que ella había muerto. Mientras trabajaban en ella, me asomé por el ventanal y vi su auto en la entrada y vi su bolso en el mostrador de la cocina. Me llamó la atención que en este momento mientras mi madre se encuentra cara a cara con Dios, Dios no le está preguntando, “¿Qué tipo de carro manejaste? ¿Cuánto dinero hiciste? ” Yo creo que él le estaba preguntando algo mucho más fundamental,”¿Cuánto amaste?” Y mi madre nos enseñó a mis hermanos y a mí de lo que el amor se trataba. Ella nos enseñó, como lo hizo Jesús, que el amor es entregar tu vida por los demás.

Hay una actitud fundamental que Santiago nos está pidiendo para reflexionar sobre la actualidad. ¿Soy una persona egoísta, buscando sólo mi propio bien? ¿O soy una persona generosa y amorosa, buscando el bien de los demás? El verdadero amor es estar buscando lo mejor para los demás.

Y Jesús nos ha enseñado que debemos tener una opción preferencial por los pobres. Puede que no tengamos gente trabajando para nosotros como escuchamos en esta lectura de hoy. Pero podemos estar muy cómodos con nuestras propias cosas materiales y olvidarnos de los que no tienen comida, refugio y ropa. Jesús dijo que El dividiría las ovejas y las cabras mirando cómo servimos al “menor de nuestros hermanos y hermanas”.

Desde los primeros tiempos de nuestra Iglesia, los pobres eran valorados. En la carta de San Pablo a los Gálatas (1:13-2:10), escuchamos cómo Pablo, Bernabé y Tito fueron a Roma para asegurarse de que el evangelio que él predicaba era correcto. Él habló a los pilares de la Iglesia, Pedro, Santiago y Juan. Pablo y sus compañeros fueron animados a continuar predicando el evangelio a los gentiles. “La única estipulación era que debemos ser conscientes de los pobres.”

Mis amigos los pobres están a nuestro alrededor y hemos sido muy bendecidos. Todos somos parte del Cuerpo Místico de Cristo. Y cuando un miembro del Cuerpo sufre, todos lo hacemos.

¿Qué estoy haciendo para cuidar de los pobres?
¿Veo  todas mis bendiciones como un regalo de Dios para compartir con los demás?
¿Cómo Dios me está llamando para compartir mis dones con los demás?

¡Tengan un día bendecido!

Fr. Burke


  1. Very moving Father.

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Dear Fr Burke, Hearing the story again with the added details of seeing your mom’s car and purse brings James into perspective in a powerful way. Thank you for sharing yourself with us in this way, it is a part of priesthood that we don’t see too often. Blessings on you, Father.

    Mike Butz


  3. Father,
    Thanks for your in sight and sharing with us through your mother how to look at life by sharing your goods with the people who are having a hard time in life I will pass this insight on. God Bless. Stephenmcauley

  4. Father Burke,
    You know I cry every time you tell the story of your mother passing! My mother died last month of lung cancer as well. There were many days when I reflected on your mother and shared this with my family to try to make them understand what was really is important during all of her suffering. Whether they listened or not is yet to be seen! Thank you for sharing this again. It’s a great reminder of what we are to be thankful for and not to focus on material things. God bless you for your daily reflections.

  5. I look forward to this every day!

  6. My husband and I haven’t received any post since this date 2-26-14 and was wondering if Fr. Burke was on a assignment . I pray he is in good health and all is well with him. Thank you for information you can give us. Deanna Erdman.

    • Yes, I’m fine. I ‘ve been posting as normal. Maybe you have to sign up again. Sometimes people have had problems being kicked off the system. Sorry for the problem.

      God bless,
      fr. burke

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