By Fr. Tom Burns, MSC
Lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus. (Luke 16:20)
How are we to respond to today’s Gospel passage? It might leave us feeling uncomfortable, intimidated, or even somewhat guilty. Jesus told this parable to wake us up to the reality of the poor – people who are right in front of us but whom we do not see because we are too focused on ourselves. These are the people whom, like Lazarus, God cares for deeply. He suffers when any one of them suffers, and he calls us to respond to their cries. So what can we do?
First, we can pray, not just for the person suffering, but for ourselves as well. We can pray for the grace to see the world through God’s eyes so that we don’t overlook the people who are most in need. That doesn’t have to be someone who is materially poor. It could also be anyone who is spiritually poor – anyone who is lonely, neglected, or lost in some way. We could also pray that we become more willing to reach out to people, even if it makes us feel uncomfortable or even if we feel we are “too busy.”
Second, we can ask God how he is inviting us to respond. There are, of course, many ministries to the poor that could use more volunteers, and there are homeless people who could use an extra couple of dollars or a hot cup of coffee. But don’t forget about the Lazarus right at your door as well. Is there someone in your life who needs a personal connection, someone who needs to feel loved, cared for, and accepted for who they are?
Finally, we can intercede. We don’t have to stop at praying for the person we are helping. We can offer to pray with them. We could pray that God would lead them to a better situation. We could pray for healing. We could pray that they would experience God’s abundant love and mercy.
God wants us to have the same generous heart that he has, one ready to give freely to people in need. Jesus’ parable shows us just how important it is to God that we take care of one another. So today, open your eyes and your heart to someone who could use more of God’s love in their life – through your prayers, through your presence, and through your help.
“Jesus, give me your heart for the ‘Lazarus’ at my door.”