By Jim Orcutt, Co-Founder of My Brother's Keeper

These personal reflections on the Monday gospel represent my insight of Christ’s message as viewed through the lens of my life experience. It is my hope that others will be inspired to reflect upon their views as well.
Date: March 5, 2015
March 5, 2015

Gospel LK 16:19-31

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.’”

Reflection:

Interestingly, the rich man ended up in Hell, but there is no indication in the story that he mistreated Lazarus. He did not banish him from his doorstep, he did not kick him, he did not refuse to give him food upon request. So, what was the rich man’s sin?

Caught up in his own lavish living, the rich man did not even notice Lazarus starving at his door. The sin of the rich man was that he “looked through” the poor man who was right in front of him.

I write these reflections so that I might view the gospels through the lens of my own life experiences.

I am saddened to say that I too have “looked through” the poor and needy who were right in front of me.

Those times when I have seen the beggar with a “Homeless” sign, standing with a collection can at a traffic light and I’ve looked the other way.

My mind tells me, “He’s a young man. Certainly, he could find some kind of work” or perhaps I think, “He’s just taking the easy way out, knowing some people will give to him.”

At those times, I have forgotten Jesus’ command to: “Give to all who ask of you.” (Matthew 5:42)

I have forgotten that it is not my job to determine a person’s worthiness. I am called by Christ to give without question.

May I heed Christ’s words and have “eyes to see” the poor in front of me and the love to give freely, without judgement.

“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother” Deuteronomy 15:7



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