Today’s Gospel: Luke 16:19-31
Today’s Gospel is one that gives comfort to those who have led difficult lives and fear to those who live charmed ones. Anyone who has suffered or is in the midst of suffering looks to this Gospel and is filled with hope that God will make up for their suffering in this life and will reward them with His eternal embrace in the next. Lazarus is rewarded and all has been made right in the universe.
But, what if your life has been good and you’ve been successful? Then what? Are you damned to hell because you wore nice clothes and ate good food? No. I don’t believe that’s what Jesus is saying. It’s important to look at the line:
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.
The rich man either took no notice or, worse yet, knew the state of poor Lazarus and did nothing to help him. So, was it the rich man’s riches that were the reason for him being cast into the netherworld? No. It was his lack of love for his neighbor.
Jesus isn’t warning us that if our lives on earth are good, that we’ll “pay for it” when we die. No. That sounds more like superstition or karma than the Gospel message of sacrificial love and endless mercy. He’s calling us out of our comfort and into the lives of others who may, quite literally, be right outside our door and in need of our help.
Do I let my own comfort insulate me from the needs of others in my life? How I can reach out in love to help those right outside my door who need me?
Lord Jesus, help me to look outside myself to meet the needs of others. Keep my eyes open to my own selfishness so that I may open my heart to the Lazaruses of this world.
Copyright 2020 Laura Nelson
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