Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thursday of the Second Week of Lent

(Jeremiah 17:5-10; Luke 16:9-31)

Sociologist Charles Murray has recently published another bombshell. His Coming Apart marshals massive evidence to demonstrate that the United States is becoming increasingly stratified economically and socially. Although the liberal rich are often seen as the source of irreligion and wanton living, Murray shows that they are much more likely to go to church and have intact families than the poor. So are the rich in the U.S. acting like the rich man in the gospel parable today, or are they perhaps following Christ?

The rich man's sin is apparently that he doesn't notice Lazarus lying at his door. He lives in luxury with no awareness of his closest neighbor. He probably was well-known in the community, but interestingly in the hereafter he goes unnamed. Lazarus, on the other hand, goes unnoticed at the rich man's door, but even the patriarch calls him by name in eternal life.

Some rich no doubt faithfully follow the Lord. However, there is a striking parallel between the rich in America and the rich man who ignores Lazarus. Those blessed with wealth have an obligation to find and assist those in need. Of course, with gated communities beggars are not seen at the rich person's door. But that cannot be an excuse in days of mass media to say that they are not around.