Reflections - September 25, 2016

“…..between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.” 
Lk. 16:26.
Today the Gospel presents us with the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the poor man.  It should be noted that Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees, men who believed in eternal life, which they also called “the bosom of Abraham” and the goal for all after death that many pious Hebrews still believe in to this day.  The description of the “netherworld” is the place that we call hell, eternal solitude or torment.  However, a well-formed Christian knows that heaven is not a “place” after our departure from this world.  It is a state of spiritual union with Christ and the “triumphant Church”.
I feel that the parable that Jesus is explaining to us is on the one hand the blindness that accompanies the rich man that has no name.  What does that blindness consist of?  For me it is sin that dehumanizes us.  It is that grave sin that breaks our relationship with God and our brethren.  This attitude of sin weakens our moral strength and makes us unfair and blind and above all numbs us making us vulnerable to proceed “according to the criteria of the flesh” and not according to the criteria of the Spirit.  Of course these attitudes take away our inner peace.
Years ago I met a young man who had business dealings in different countries of Latin America.  After his conversion he told me that the most painful thing he remembered before his encounter with the Lord was his insensitivity that led him to say as a joke of very bad taste:  “God has given my employees small stomachs so they can be filled with very little food and spend very little money”.  Remembering his past he repeated to me:  “My great sin was my blindness that did not allow me to perceive my selfishness and my solitude.  I had everything but I felt very alone.  My life was a living hell.  I realize today after my conversion the suffering of those brothers and sisters.  Of course, today we can work together and communicate better in a fair and supportive environment.  Today I can say that I try to see the face of Christ in each of my employees and they also in my fair attitude.”
Let us pray to the Lord in the Eucharist to open our eyes to see the poor Lazarus that could be the elderly living alone and no one hears him or the sick and the needy of a word of encouragement and hope. tould also be that single mother who with sacrifice tries to push her family forward or those young people who seek “the living and true God” among false idols that do not fill their existential emptiness.
These are the Lazaruses in whom the Lord shows us His face every day and who will receive us in His kingdom.  Remember:  “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”  Mt. 25:40.