"Between you and us there is fixed a great abyss..." —Luke 16:26
Note that the rich man's dialogue with Father Abraham shows that he knew Lazarus by name (see Lk 16:24). This indicates that the rich man (traditionally called 'Dives') likely knew the poor man lying at his very door.
Twice Dives asks Father Abraham to dispatch Lazarus to perform tasks that a servant boy would typically perform (Lk 16:24, 27). Possibly Dives regarded Lazarus as no more than a servant. Perhaps Dives occasionally sent Lazarus to run errands for him. If that is the case, he certainly took advantage of Lazarus as an occasional "worker," but one without "health care" benefits. Eventually Lazarus stopped being healthy enough to be useful to Dives. At that point, the dogs paid more attention to Lazarus than did Dives.
"More tortuous than all else is the human heart" (Jer 17:9). We men and women can become so hardened of heart that we think only of our needs and not of the needs of others. Is there anyone in our lives to whom we only pay heed if they can be of assistance to us? The great chasm separating Dives from Lazarus in Jesus' parable did not just appear in the afterlife (Lk 16:26); Dives dug that abyss each day that he disregarded his fellow human beings during his lifetime. Though Lazarus lay at Dives' door, it was as though he was on the other side of the Grand Canyon. "If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts" (see Heb 3:7, 15).
Prayer: Jesus, open my eyes to see all the times when I fail to pay attention to the needy and therefore to You (Mt 25:41-45). "May charity be the root and foundation" of my life (Eph 3:17).
Promise: "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord." —Jer 17:7
Praise: Sharon obeyed God's call to hand out pro-life literature in front of an abortion chamber near a high school. Hundreds of young people have listened to her loving message of life.
(This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Imprimatur ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from February 1, 2014 through March 31, 2014. †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 8, 2013.
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