When I sat down to read today’s Gospel, I thought, “This sounds familiar”; then I remembered that it had been read at the beginning of Wednesday’s RCIA session! I kind of felt like I had a jump on things. I had a hard time with reflecting on the Readings this morning, but when the priest gave his Homily, one thing made my heart hurt:
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
That poor man! That part of the verse really stuck with me and made me realize just how low Lazarus really was. For the rich man to see him every day and not do anything (not even have his servants shoo him away) is such a disgrace. But, that got me thinking: What would I do? What do I do when I see someone who is dirty? Do I look the other way? Do I offer him/her something? Or do I do nothing and just look the other way? ePriest calls this a "Sin of Omission".
Great. I not only I have to watch what I say/do, but I also need to be mindful of what I don't say or do. This is tough. There are times when we're busy, we have things to do, places to go; we don't have time to stop and make sure the man/woman on the corner has something to eat/drink. It's easier to just look the other way. What if that person robs us? What if he/she physically hurts us? I definitely think about the safety issues. This world seems to have gotten wilder, crazier when it comes to meeting random people.
Taking it back to the Gospel: I got the impression that Lazarus being outside the man's house was a daily occurrence. Surely, if I saw a person lying at my door day after day, I would (after a couple of days anyway) try to help. I would like to think I would do what I could. We don't know how we would react until we're put in that situation.
This Gospel made me think of St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. Damien. Neither of these saints feared disease and saw Jesus in those they to which they were ministering. Could I do the same?
During the Homily, the first thing Father said was that the common thread between all 3 of today's Readings is "Beware of Complacency". Don't become so complacent with what we have that we think we're "in" automatically. ePriest said, "Being nice isn't enough"; that won't save our souls. If we have any kind of wealth, we are to use it properly. God allowed us the means to achieve that wealth; He also gave us free will. We have free will to do the right thing, or to become complacent and do whatever we want.
I'm very blessed to live in a country that enjoys wealth; however, there are many in our own country who go hungry. Working in the public schools, I see that a lot. Kids that come to school dirty, who won't have anything to eat once they get home. Their parents may or may not be around; I knew of 1 child who got himself up in the morning, got his sibling up and to the bus stop for school. And he was 9 years old. Many schools (including the system where I work) have backpack programs: the students take home a backpack with food in it so they'll have something to eat on the weekends. This is reality for a lot of kids. Sure, some parents are "deadbeat", but there are some out there who are really trying & just not making it. Many people are turning a blind eye to the situations we have in our own backyard. We've become complacent.
This week, I resolve to open my eyes to who is around me and take a minute out of my time to relieve some discomfort for that person. It doesn't even have to be someone on the street; it may be a child at school, or even a parent. It may even be someone in the store who needs help. It's not about being nice, it's about being aware. And being a Christian.