Eyes to See: A Weekly Reflection

By Patheos staff

There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. ~ Luke 16:19-21

An old standard by John Foley, SJ, The Cry of the Poor, with a new spin, thanks to You Tube!

What does Lazarus look like today? On your block, or in your neighborhood, or at your church? Can you open your eyes and see?

The story of the rich man and Lazarus in the sixteenth chapter of Luke’s Gospel is a compelling parable. From the outset of the story, the roles are reversed: the rich man has no name, while the poor man is named Lazarus. Every day he begs for the scraps from the rich man’s table . . . but for naught.

I wonder why the rich man refused the beggar . . . or did he? Was he so hard of heart that he ignored Lazarus’s pleas for food and dignity, or did he just “not see”?

Maybe the rich man was too busy checking his emails . . .

Or texting his wife about dinner . . .

Or in another meeting at work . . .

Maybe he was looking at his watch, wondering when he would finally get home from work and out of all this traffic . . .

Maybe, just maybe, the rich man didn’t see . . . or couldn’t . . .

Lazarus, the poor man, didn’t have any of the rich man’s distractions: no cell phone, no laptop, no fancy gym membership or second home or splashy vacation. All the poor have is an empty belly, hunger pangs, and the human need for food, and dignity, and love.

Where is Lazarus hiding out today? Does he work in your office? Is he part of your family? Does he wait at the T stop, begging for a dollar? Is he offering to wash your windshield while you’re waiting at the red light? Is he standing in the soup line at your local church, or “shopping” for food at the weekly pantry? Does he have a face? Does she have a name?

Can you see? Do you care?

Do something . . . then pray.