Who is at the gate?

Gate Pa – 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time,    29th  September 2013  
Hebrew Scripture:      Jeremiah 32:1-3,6-15
Psalm:             Psalm: 91:1-6, 14-16      (But Psalm 42 cos we need a good lament)
Epistle:            1 Timothy 6:6-19          
Gospel:            Luke 16:19-31  

What I want to say:
I want to use the story of Elizabeth of Hungary to shed light on the story of Lazarus – how can we live out what this story is suggesting
What I want to happen:
people to talk about who is at their/our gate, and how do we and how might we respond

 The Sermon

       1.     Introduction:

wonder where saw yourself as you heard this story – rich man or Lazarus
for myself interesting very poor man is named and rich man unnamed
certainly not see self as rich
term leave people Larry Ellison, Bill Gates, Graeme Hart, Owen Glenn, Todd Family or John Key,
            in comparison to them I am poor
            know not poor either -> a lot better off than many people in this country and internationally
time in Solomons – uncomfortably aware that compared most those lived among 2 ½ weeks was unbelievably wealthy
            access to wealth, food, resources and health care – they could not dream of
I am rich man in this story
left wondering who I am not seeing at my gate
            what might I do if I do see them?

      2.     Francis

Thursday night around world Franciscan will be celebrating Transitus – service celebrates Francis of Assisi’s passing from this world to God
Friday we have his feast day
            remember Francis as someone who did see people at Gates
            gesture of God’s love he joined them
                        argue about how helpful that is
his case his joining them made them more visible to wealthy of his time.
he did two things that rich man in this story did not do
            saw poor who was at this gate
            felt their claim on him  and he responded           

       3.     Elizabeth of Hungary, Princess (November 19)

Another saints remember is Elizabeth, the daughter of Andrew II of Hungary, was born at Presburg, Hungary, in 1207. When she was four she was sent to the court of the Landgrave of Thuringia to be betrothed to his eldest son, Louis IV, who was then ten years of age. Although many others treated her harshly, Louis was very good to her. When Elizabeth was fifteen, they finally married, and it proved to be a love match. They had three children.
Elizabeth was influenced by the Franciscans, who had recently reached Germany. She enjoyed helping the poor- spent large sums on charitable work, funding hospitals and providing for orphans.
After seven years of very happy life, tragedy
            Louis died suddenly of the plague while journeying to the crusades.
            her brother-in-law, upset by her extravagant generosity, took possession of her son, the heir, and turned Elizabeth and her two daughters out of the castle with, tradition says, a baby at her breast. They survived with great difficulty, often having to beg for food, until some friends of Louis caused her brother-in-law to make some small provision for her life.
            eventually - made arrangements for the care of her children and became a Franciscan tertiary.
            She came under the authority of a harsh priest, Conrad of Marburg, who had been a member of the Inquisition. He treated her with great severity, and under a discipline of fasting, penances and vigils her health suffered. The last four years of her life were spent in caring for the poor and sick in Marburg. She continued to do this with charm and good humour despite the cruel directives of her confessor, and she refused an invitation to return to Hungary. She was only twenty-four when she died in 1231.
Elizabeth was buried at Marburg, and the poor people whom she had helped came to mourn. Her contemporaries were so moved by the story, that she was canonised only four years after she died. A year later her body was taken from the humble grave and placed in a rich tomb in a church which was built in her memory.

Often focus on what happens after evicted from Castle and harsh life under Conrad of Marburg
all noble etc…
beyond most of us
miss importance of her time as princess
much more helpful for us as we respond to today’s world and todays reading
Franciscan writer read while away, went hear last year in Wellington
-         Susan Pitchford, in book Following Francis
describes how Elizabeth influenced by Franciscans
lost faith in complacent notion that earthly inequalities were ordained by God
experienced needs of poor as a shameful judgement on her own luxurious lifestyle
stunned to discover that what she was living on had been taken away from others, particularly the poor
response was one authenticity and grace – live simply
            to not add to the poverty of others
            and if she could – address the both consequences and causes of that poverty
            dressed simply
            gave extravagantly
            personally cared for poorest lepers and beggars
            refused wear crown church – annoyed mother in law
            scandalised maids by joining them in household chores and asking them call her by first name
when learnt food served came two sources – food grown on property and food extorted from poor surrounding area – confined eating what she knew came from own property
in way rich man in our story today did not
felt claim of poor of the world on her
            sought to live in way – did not add to their poverty
-         alleviated consequences of that poverty
-         addressed some of cause of their poverty
-         central to all this recognising risen Christ in face poor.

      4.     Questions

Her story and story told by Jesus raises some questions for me
            who do we see at our gates?
            how do we or might we live in way does not add to their poverty?
            how do we or might we work to address the consequences and causes of that poverty?


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