Thursday of the Second Week of Lent
The parables are intended to make us think and reflect. In the one we hear in today’s gospel, the rich man lived in isolated luxury.
Sure, he did not hurt anyone. He didn’t run Lazarus off his property. He didn’t mind Lazarus hanging around his table for the leftovers.
So what was the rich man’s sin? It is precisely this. Dives didn’t treat Lazarus as a person. To the rich man, Lazarus was simply a part of the landscape.
But then everything changes. Both men die. The rich man ends up in hell. Lazarus ends up in heaven. The rich man can see Lazarus, who is sitting next to Abraham. He recognizes him as the beggar who ate the scraps dropped from his banquet table. He even remembers his name. He calls out, “Lazarus, can you give me a few drops of water to cool my tongue.”
When that is not possible, he begs Abraham to send prophets to warn his brothers. They are most likely just like the rich man. They are enjoying life. It’s unlikely they will heed any warning, even if it comes from a great prophet like Jesus.
The parable challenges us to ask ourselves: How many people do I come in contact with who are nothing more to me than part of the landscape? Perhaps we do that repeatedly – without really thinking about it.
We can all insulate ourselves in our own little worlds.
The Lord challenges us to enter the world of other people, especially the poor. Jesus challenges us to let into our world the homeless, the mentally challenged, the refugee, the single mother, the unborn child, and the person caught in human trafficking.
That is how we will be judged at the end of our lives. We have Jesus’ word on that.
Reflection by Archbishop Jerome Hanus, OSB