Each of today’s readings, Jer 17: 5-10 and Lk 16: 19-31, present us with contrasting images: the bush in the barren desert and the tree by running streams; Dives, the rich person who wines and dines while ignoring the poor; and Lazarus, a poor person sitting outside of Dives’ villa hoping to find enough discarded food to survive and who is comforted by dogs (think pets) who lick the sores on his body.
I have several choices: being the “barren bush,” the “tree planted by running waters; “Dives” who is indifferent to the poor, the lonely, the oppressed of his world; or Jesus, who reaches out to the marginalized of his society: women, children, the physically and mentally challenged, the deaf and the blind (physically or spiritually deaf or blind), those considered impure and “not worthy” to enter my “house”, those people who might have been stoned to death without Jesus’ intervention, and so on.
Who am I? the barren bush deprived of sources of sustenance or the tree planted near the water? Do I drink of the Living Water? Do I spend time at Jesus’ feet alone in prayer and in worship with my parish community? Do I take time to reflect upon Scripture readings; for example those of the Mass each day (See The Word among Us available at www.wau.org)? Do I take time to reflect upon my life or will I simply go on living each day as Dives did and not wake up until it was too late, when he begged God to send Lazarus back to earth to warn his five brothers of what was really important in life; namely, paying attention to, caring about those less fortunate than themselves, those who are needy in any way? Am I aware that being a beloved disciple of Jesus means being in right relationship with and building relationships with those with whom I live and work, with whom I worship each Sunday, with those in my neighborhood, my neighbors throughout the world? Am I aware of how important it is to pay attention to the “Lazarus’ sitting beside me yearning for the “crumbs” I am able to give them: a smile, a congratulatory statement, an acknowledgement of who they are, a word of comfort, a statement that reveals that I care, that I am concerned, that I want to help in some small way to make their world a better place? Or am I too busy with the pleasures of my life to be bothered?