Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man’s table.” – Luke 16: 19 – 21
Most of us recall the parable of Lazarus and the rich man from childhood.
As a child reading the story in my children’s bible, I remember scorning the rich man.
“How could he be so unkind, I wondered?”
As I grew older and read the story or heard it read in the Gospel, I sometimes wondered if the rich man was simply negligent and just too occupied with his own lifestyle, that he didn’t notice, Lazarus?
I see from reading the Gospel today again, that this view is not accurate.
The encounter with the rich man, Lazarus and Abraham makes it clear that the rich man, knew Lazarus on earth. As he recognised who Lazarus was when he saw him in the bosom of Abraham, and even addressed him by name.
For me this is a stark reminder, of how easy it is, to miss attending to the needs of those whom we know well. The people around us, who live next door to us, or even in our families; our parents, children, brothers or sisters, our friends and neighbours… or just the “stranger” next door.
Sometimes we think of ways we should be charitable, and our hearts and minds go far away to those who St Teresa of Calcutta calls the poorest of the poor, and this is certainly required (as Lazarus was certainly one).
But perhaps in addition to the poorest of the poor who are far from us, we should ask the Lord to also open our eyes to the see and our hearts to help the poorest of the poor who are nearest to us. The people who we can also physically reach out to in the love of Christ.
This is certainly my prayer today, as I now realise that what I once scorned in the rich man as a child, I may have grown to become as an adult. May the Lord show me His mercy, and grant me His saving help. Amen.
As Saint Teresa of Calcutta advises, “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”
By doing so, we would be applying the lesson of Jesus from this parable in a very real way in our every day lives.
Today, Lord Jesus, we pray for the grace to be humble and broken before You.
Yes Lord, for when we are humble and broken, then like soil which is ready to receive water and seed for the planting, we can receive the refreshing spring of life that flows from Your pierced Heart – even the Living Water of the Holy Spirit; and we can also receive the seed of Your Word, sown deeply into our hearts.
Then through the action of both Spirit and Word in our hearts, our hearts can be transformed to generously yield a harvest through perseverance and service to our brethren.
Always and Forever,
To The Lamb.
With all my love.