16 March 2006

Loving Lazarus

One can almost picture the scene in today's Gospel: Dives, the rich man, returns home day and night and steps over Lazarus, the beggar at his door. The Gospel doesn't say that he stepped on him; he didn't injure him, he just ignored him.

If we are really honest, we all have at least one "Lazarus" in our life. Our Lazarus may not be someone covered in oozing sores, stretched across our doorway. It may, however, be someone who is covered by spiritual or emotional sores -- someone who is difficult company, someone whom we would prefer to "step over" and ignore. We do not wish our Lazarus anything bad or hurtful, but at the same time, we do not stop to love this beggar for whom a scrap of our time, attention and kindness would be a healing salve.

Let us pray for the grace to know, to recognize and to show sincere charity to the Lazarus who is stretched across the threshold of our heart. For that which we do for this beggar, we do for Christ.

" . . . if God had forbidden me to love my enemies I should have a great difficulty in obeying him. It seems to me that the very contradiction we receive from our fellow men ought to stir our spirit to love them more, for they serve as a whetstone to sharpen our virtue."
St. Francis de Sales

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