Thursday of the Second Week of Lent
The readings for the day can be found here.
Today’s New Testament Gospel reading comes from Luke 16:19-31 and is the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. This parable begins with an earthly contrast of the “have’s” (the rich man) and the “have not’s” (Lazarus). Jesus paints a vivid picture of a well dressed man who dines on splendid food each day and of the sore covered Lazarus who waits at the rich man’s door hoping to taste a few of his scraps. This immediately makes me feel uncomfortable because I see my reflection in the rich man. Now by American standards I am not rich, just somewhere in the middle. Whew, that makes me feel a little better, until I consider the global community. In that context I am definitely rich, considering I have never had to worry about where I will find my next meal. And yet when I hear the statistics on world hunger and the lack of clean drinking water it can seem overwhelming. What can I possibly do to change the world? What difference will I actually be able to make?
As Jesus’ parable continues we see the spiritual contrast of Lazarus and the rich man. When Lazarus died the angels carried him off to heaven (the bosom of Abraham). Later, the rich man died and while enduring the torment of hell he was able to see Abraham with Lazarus at his side. He called out for relief and to warn his family still living, but it was too late. A great chasm was fixed and could not be crossed. In the end, the rich man is not in hell because of his riches but because he failed to apply the word of God. Consider God’s word in Matthew 25:35-36, ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
From these contrasts, the parable challenges me. I know that I am not wanting and in fact have plenty. But it is easy for me to become numb to the needs of those around me. Only through God can I remove this indifference. Please God help me to see Lazarus and have mercy. Matthew 25:40 says, The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Don’t let me get overwhelmed by thinking I have to single handedly change the world. Instead give me your spirit that I may see those in need around me and give me your heart to help them. In this way I reflect the love of your son Jesus.
Eric Anderson is the Director of Simon Recreation Center.