A page with links to information about and works by Michael Dubruiel.
In 2006 we traveled to Rome. Here's a compilation of both of our posts on that trip. His are quite thoughtful.
Jesus tells a story about two dead men: one affluent, the other a
beggar. After living a life of luxury, the rich man finds himself suffering
in acute pain; he asks Abraham to send Lazarus (the poor
beggar) to get him a drink. Even in the afterlife, the rich man
thinks that Lazarus should be waiting on him!
Abraham points out the barrier that prevented Lazarus from
doing the rich man’s bidding in the afterlife. Of course, no such
barrier exists among the living. The justice of Lazarus’s reward in
the afterlife also points to the fact that it is no one’s lot to be a beggar
in this life; the surplus of some, as Pope John Paul II has often
preached, belongs to those in need. While he was alive, the rich
man had it within his means to relieve the suffering of Lazarus, but
he did nothing. In the mind of the rich man, Lazarus was exactly
what God wanted him to be—a beggar. In the next life, the tables
were turned: Lazarus was rewarded, and the rich man suffered.
It is a simple message, one that we have heard many times.
It also has a touch of irony: In the story, the rich man begs Abraham
to send Lazarus back from the dead to warn the rich man’s
brothers. Abraham predicts that they still wouldn’t believe.
Notice the reaction of the crowd when Jesus raises Lazarus from
the dead: “So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus also to
death, because on account of him many of the Jews were going
away and believing in Jesus,” (John 12:10–11).
Jesus sent his disciples out to heal, to liberate, and to invite
others into the kingdom of God. As a follower of Christ, what
am I doing for those Jesus sends to me?
The letter to the Hebrews draws a strong connection
between the cross and prayer. Because every moment of our
earthly existence is threatened by death, and we know neither the
day nor the hour when that existence will come to an end, we,
too, need to cry out to the God who can save us. Like Moses, we
need the help of our fellow Christians to hold up our arms when
they grow tired. We, too, need the help of the Holy Spirit to
make up for what is lacking in our prayer.
Coming to the tomb of Jesus that first Easter morning, the
women discovered an angel there, the rock rolled away. It was a
shocking and unexpected sight. The guards, who were there to
This is the power of
the cross for the follower
of Christ, no matter
what happens to us or can
happen to us we are not
make sure that the disciples did not steal the body of the Lord,
were also witnesses to this. They were overcome with fear—to the
point of being “like dead men.”
One experience, two groups of people, two different reactions.
One group looks at the empty tomb and rushes to tell what
they have witnessed. The other group is paralyzed by the life
event. This wasn’t just something that happened thousands of
years ago; it happens every moment of every day. Those who see
the cross as the end of their life, meet death there; those who
believe and place their trust in God, find in the cross life and victory.
How do we die to ourselves? The cross extends the invitation
again and again. We nail our failures and our successes, we make
no judgments—like Christ, we abandon ourselves in trust to the
Father. We keep “watch” with Christ and live in the expectation
of his coming at every moment. Our death on the cross with
Christ—something that our Baptism signified but we must daily
reclaim—gives us the power to love as Christ did because Christ
is within us, when we allow him to be all in all.
St. Paul tells us that we are to “cast off the works of darkness
and put on the armor of light”—we are to conduct ourselves as
people of light. Too often people try to escape or reject their cross;
they flee to the darkness, escape in alcohol or sex, or immerse
themselves in anger, all because things have not gone their way.
Without the grace of God, this is our fate as well. Yet when we
are handed a cross, if we abandon ourselves and trust in God as
Christ did, what seems like defeat is in fact a victory! The evil that
is done to us, God can mold into good. Then we can sing
Hosanna to God in the highest, because the light of God will live
in us and we will see everything in his light.
The secret to obedience is given to us in John’s Gospel, when
Jesus teaches that he is the vine and we are the branches. Our life
depends upon remaining part of him—which we do by being
obedient to his commands and partaking in his Body and Blood
offered in the Eucharist. John in his letter says that we can tell if
we are “abiding” in Christ by our actions: Are they Christ-like?
The power to be like Christ, of course, comes from dying to
ourselves and allowing Christ to live within us. This requires
more than simply listening to or parroting the words of Christ;
this requires a complete abandonment to him.
Every day the official prayer of the Church begins the same
way, by praying Psalm 95: “Come, let us worship the Lord,”
echoes the refrain, inviting us to see our Savior, our Creator, the
God to whom we belong. With the invitation comes a warning:
“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”
In standing up for justice, we must not become tyrants.
Those who lead successful revolutions against injustice often
become the next abusive regime. The cross of Christ teaches us
a path of humility and obedience to God alone, not to any ideology
but to Christ. Standing up for what is right is the duty of
every child of God, and the Son of God has shown us the way.
We strive to be like him, not to obtain some position or false
power. The cross of Christ restores our status as children of God;
like Our Lord we should ever remember that we are children of
God and trust in Him alone.