Thursday, March 1, 2018

Listening and Responding Caringly

In today's Gospel, Luke 16: 19-31, Jesus tells the Pharisees the story of "a ricman...dressed in purple garments and fine linen [who] dined sumptuously each day. ...[L]ying at his door was a poor man Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the craps that fell from the rich man's table."  Both men died. The rich man ends up in eternal torment while Lazarus entered heaven.  The rich man begs Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his five brothers to pay attention to the poor. Abraham refuses, telling the fallen rich man that his five brothers have Moses and the prophets. They should listen to them. "Oh, no, Abraham," the rich man responds, "if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent."  Abraham responds: "If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead."

Someone has risen from the dead who is Jesus the Lord. Am I listening to Him? Do I pay attention to the small, whispering voice within me guiding me, urging me, encouraging me to respond to the needs of the poor in my midst? The "poor" could be the homeless man/woman standing on a street corner, a fellow parishioners suffering from a terminal or chronic illness, the helpless child in one's home, an infant who is crying out of hunger or sleeplessness or needing a diaper change, a spouse who is exhausted from the demands of caring for toddlers all day. The Spirit may alert me to stop for groceries on the way home from work or some other errand on behalf of the family. Am I listening? Am I responding or do I simply ignore that small, quiet voice, as, most likely, the rich man did when he passed Lazarus by the gate of his mansion!

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