Reflecting on Luke 16: 19-31
Last week we pondered the important role that ethical entrepreneurs have in creating jobs. Whew! That’s not me. So I’m off the hook. And just when I thought it was safe to open the gospel again, bam. There sits Lazarus―not the same man as the one Jesus raised from the dead in John’s gospel― homeless, hungry, sick, right outside my door. Luke’s gospel is a lot like this beggar. It sits at the door of our hearts, relentlessly demanding that we pay attention.
Don’t you love that Lazarus has a name and the rich man doesn’t? He who is so destitute in this world is given the thing so valued in his culture and ours, a name to carry his memory into the future. And is the rich man nameless because―gulp―we are meant to insert our name there?
The late, great John Kavanaugh, SJ made the connection beautifully. He suggested that the “great abyss” between the torments of hell and the bliss of heaven exists today in the huge wealth disparities between those who head corporations, whose bonuses are in the millions, and those who sew the clothes that fill their stores, presently making 56 cents an hour. We don’t need to look further than our own American cities to see the abyss that stretches between the 1%―a large number of whom cluster together in one single block in Manhattan!―and the working poor, who are clearly not benefitting from the “recovery.”
I wish I had room to name here the many friends I have whose lives of selfless charity offer them this great comfort: they look forward to sharing the heavenly banquet with the friends who once huddled at their doors.
Who is the Lazarus in your life whom you have befriended?
Kathy McGovern ©2016