Thursday of the Second Week of Lent
(Jeremiah 17:5-10; Luke 16:19-31)
It is not that the rich man mistreats Lazarus. He doesn’t kick him or yell at him. Nor can it be said that the rich man ignores Lazarus, at least deliberately. He doesn’t use the back door to avoid seeing Lazarus or turn his head when he walked by the beggar. The rich man just doesn’t see Lazarus sitting there in need. He probably is too busy. The Scripture does not say what he is doing. It does say that he dresses luxuriously and eats sumptuously. It may be supposed then that he is lost in thought about what he is to eat that evening or wear the next day.
Unfortunately, in modern society there are many ways to avoid encounters with the poor. Gated communities keep unwanted people away. By driving on expressways one can bypass inner-city slums where poor people often live. In this age of consumption people can also spend all of their disposable income on one gadget or apparel after another. They do not have any money left to help those in need.
Jesus warns us today that the fate of such people is doom. He says that not even the hope of the resurrection will make them see their neighbors in need. If we are to profit by his example, we must ask ourselves what we are doing for others. If the others are only those who can help us in return, we must look again. Jesus wants us to wake up to those in need.