Luke 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.´"
Lord, although I cannot see you with my eyes,
I believe you are present to me now, in my
innermost being, and that you know me far better
than I know myself. I also know that you love
me much more than I love my own self.
Thank you for loving and watching over me, though I
don’t deserve your love. In return, I offer you
my sorrow for my sins and my hopes to
love you more each day.
Petition: Lord, help
me to be generous and serve the needs of my
1. Self-centeredness Is Useless and Sinful: The rich man lived
in isolated luxury, absorbed with the latest in fashion
and the finest in dining. He did not hurt
anyone: He didn’t run Lazarus off his property. He didn’t
mind Lazarus hanging around his table for the leftovers.
He didn’t criticize him for not getting a job
to earn a living. Then what was the rich man’s
sin? He didn’t treat Lazarus as a person. To
the rich man, Lazarus was simply a part of the
landscape. How many people do I come in contact
with, perhaps repeatedly, who are nothing more to me
than part of the landscape?
2. Suffering Helps Us Grow:
Our words “compassion” and “sympathy” come from Latin and
Greek roots that mean to “suffer with.” Our personal suffering
makes us more humane and opens us up to
the plight of others. Our vision becomes more perceptive
of other’s hardships, and our hearts become quicker to
respond compassionately. Yet suffering can be a double-edged sword. It
can also push us into envy, hatred, bitterness and
isolation if we are proud, or if we forget
that God permits trials to purify our love. How have
I responded to suffering in my life? Has it
made me more compassionate or more bitter and self-centered?
There Is More to Life Than Riches: Suffering also makes
us more zealous for souls, more apostolic. Unfortunately for
his brothers, the rich man’s zeal was a “zeal
come lately.” Because he spent all his energy and fortune
in avoiding suffering, he was totally absorbed in self.
The meaning of his life was completely temporal, and
in the end he had nothing to show for it.
One of our greatest sufferings in purgatory will be
the realization that we could have done so much
more for the salvation of souls.
Conversation with Christ:
Lord, I have had a chance to look more
seriously at myself in this meditation and to examine
if my heart is set on you, if you
are my treasure. Perhaps in some areas I still cling
to the treasures of this world. But now I
want to get rid of them completely. I know
that my heart can be set on only one thing
and that it will radiate with whatever fills it.
Fill me with yourself, so that I may radiate you.
Anything that is not you cripples my efforts to
give you to others. Rid me of my selfishness.
Make me your apostle.
Resolution: I will pray
for someone who is difficult for me to love, and
I will be kind to a stranger.