It's interesting that the rich man identified Lazarus by name from his place in hell (Lk 16:24). Thus, Lazarus was no stranger to him. In addition, the rich man requested that Lazarus bring him some refreshment (Lk 16:24). This indicates that the rich man could have been in the habit of sending a beggar to fetch various creature comforts for him. Old habits die hard, for when he couldn't get personal comfort from Lazarus, he requested that Lazarus bring a message to his brothers on earth, who were presumably as callous to human suffering as he himself was (Lk 16:27ff). To the rich man, Lazarus ranked even lower than a servant boy. At least a servant boy would rate a bed and a meal in a first-century household. In his eyes, Lazarus didn't even rate his leftovers (Lk 16:21). Undoubtedly, the rich man would have been shocked on Judgment Day to hear that as often as he neglected to feed and shelter Lazarus, he neglected to do it to Jesus (Mt 25:45).
Who is the Lazarus in our lives? Who, in our estimation, exists for the purpose of serving us, but doesn't deserve any credit or reward for refreshing us? (Because, after all, it's their duty.) Is it the employees who work for us? The janitor at work? Our spouse? Our children? Our aging relatives? Our pastor?
Repent of not esteeming every single human being (1 Pt 2:17). Imitate Jesus, Who came not to be served, but to serve (Mt 20:28).
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from February 1, 2010 through March 31, 2010.
†Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 26, 2009.