Weekly Liturgy : September 19-25
The Rich Man and Lazarus
Luke 16 : 19-31
(Common English Bible)
19-21 “There was a certain rich man who clothed himself in purple and fine linen, and who feasted luxuriously every day. At his gate lay a certain poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. Lazarus longed to eat the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. Instead, dogs would come and lick his sores.
22-26 “The poor man died and was carried by angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. While being tormented in the place of the dead, he looked up and saw Abraham at a distance with Lazarus at his side. He shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I’m suffering in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received good things, whereas Lazarus received terrible things. Now Lazarus is being comforted and you are in great pain. Moreover, a great crevasse has been fixed between us and you. Those who wish to cross over from here to you cannot. Neither can anyone cross from there to us.’
27-31 “The rich man said, ‘Then I beg you, Father, send Lazarus to my father’s house. I have five brothers. He needs to warn them so that they don’t come to this place of agony.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets. They must listen to them.’ The rich man said, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone from the dead goes to them, they will change their hearts and lives.’ Abraham said, ‘If they don’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, then neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.’”
Jesus uses this old folktale to help his audience transform their understanding of God's "kingdom."
The banquet with Abraham (aka: the good life, or, heaven on earth) is experienced through relationship, connection, and compassion. We find ourselves in it when we open the gates we've constructed between ourselves and those we despise.
Hell - literally or figuratively - occurs when we act only to hoard and preserve our own comfort and security, without concern for our neighbor. The consequence of this way is to discover that our gates of hatred have turned into impassable chasms of pain and isolation.There's no guarantee that the problems of the world will be solved.
There's work to be done. And living in ways that bring good, break down rivalries, build community, and promote belonging in the world often require subversive, revolutionary strategies. It requires creativity and effort.
Now is not the time to settle for good enough. Now is the time to look for every opportunity to bring healing, and to go after it like our life depends on it, because it does.
Outward Mindset Application Think of an excuse you have been using in your work. This week, replace that excuse with ownership and renewed efforts in your work.
Pathways Toward Centeredness Enthusiasm (loving the world through mystery and celebration): Each day this week, think of 5 people in your life. Then thank each individual for something.
Questions for Reflection From whom in your life do you learn the most? To whom in your life do you impart the most wisdom?