Daily Reflection – 3/9/2023
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. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’ Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’ He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’ He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'”(Luke 16: 19-31)
The name Lazarus means God is my help.
Despite a life of misfortune and suffering, Lazarus never lost hope in God. His eyes were set on a treasure stored up for him in heaven. The rich man, however, could not see beyond his material wealth and possessions. He not only had everything he needed, but he also selfishly spent all he had on himself. He was too absorbed in what he possessed to notice the needs of those around him.
Our world grows more complicated each day. To protect their lives, many people try to shut out the world around them and concentrate on the things they love. I get that. I respect that.
The only downside to that mentality is when we truly do shut out the needs of those around us.
If we claim God’s mercy and love for ourselves, we must show that mercy and love to all who bear His image and likeness. We must be Christians not merely in name, but also in how we live, even when it is inconvenient or even painful.
A wise rabbi once said that darkness does not end when the sun rises or when someone lights a candle; instead, darkness ends when you can look into a person’s eyes and see the divine.
When we look at another person and know that they are God’s creation, that’s when the darkness will end. We must see others not for what they’ve done, nor for what they can become, but for their status as a child of God.
Christ demands openness to our brothers and sisters in need — openness from the rich, the affluent, the economically advantaged, openness to the poor, the underdeveloped and the disadvantaged. Christ demands an openness that is more than benign attention, more than token actions or half-hearted efforts that leave the poor as destitute as before or even more so.
In a literal sense, the marginalized of society remind us to live outside ourselves and to orient ourselves to service rather than greed and gluttony. In the case of the rich man, he dissipated his own salvation by ignoring Lazarus, who received justice in the bosom of Abraham.
We must always remember that to live in Christ is to serve as Christ did. To serve as Christ did is to live as a follower of Christ.
Indifference to those who are in need and who are suffering is what the Scriptures put before us today as sinful. What we do to others we do to God. What we do to others we do to Jesus. What we don’t do for others is what we don’t do to Jesus.
Being a follower of Christ is accepting that each of us has been sent to serve. That is our birthright.
Serving others has the power to give hope, to strengthen communities, to transform our homes and, most of all, our lives.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, you are my joy and my treasure. Make me rich in the things of heaven and give me a generous heart that I may freely share with others the spiritual and material treasures you have given to me.”
“If anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, and yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” (1 John 3:17) We may think that we know nothing about the man or woman accosting us in the parking lots of our nation and asking for our help. We may think we do not the names of the marginalized in our society. We may think we do not know the names of those treated differently because of their race, or gender. We may think we do not the names of those feeling the weight of discrimination because of the way they think, or dress. But we do know something about them—we know their name. Lazarus.