Compare Two Contrasting Scenes:
Scene 1: At mass today, we meet around the table of the Lord Jesus. He is the richest of all, Creator of the Universe, King of Kings. At His table (Altar) we are invited to be with Him; we are poor in comparison. We came into the world with nothing and will leave with nothing. We bring nothing with us from this earth when we go, other than love – only everlasting gift.
Scene 2: At a rich person’s table there sits another rich man. He is different. Because outside there is a poor man who never gets invited to come to His table to eat. Worse still, the poor wretch can’t even get the crumbs that fall from the rich man’s table. He’s literally starving and will soon die.
Scene 1: Jesus at His table sees us and calls us by name to sit close to Him. He feeds us and gives to drink. We don’t have to go looking for crumbs; He gives us eternal food. We receive Bread from Heaven and our thirst is slaked by the Chalice of Salvation, becoming rich through Him.
Scene 2: The rich man does nothing deliberately wrong. He simply does not notice Lazarus lying hungry, poor, sick and probably lonely. If Lazarus was a dog at the gates of his house, perhaps he would get more notice from the man of the house. But it is left to the dogs to lick the sores of the poor man – no human comfort.
Scene 1: Jesus, the rich one, promises that when fed at His table, we will never hunger again. Sure, the world is full of starving people, but the Bread of the Eucharist compels us not to let anyone die for want of food that this world is still capable of producing. Go, from being fed at the Mass with Jesus and in turn feed others who starve.
Scene 2: Lazarus is left outside by a rich man who never feels hunger. The rich one leaves Lazarus in his pitiable condition perhaps not by calculated and, deliberate choice. He did it by total neglect. If glancing outside his palatial house, he sees dogs lick sores on Lazarus, his reaction could be, ‘what is that to me?’ He may even salve his conscience by thinking that Lazarus is part of an organised scam.
Scene 1: Jesus has an Eternal Banquet prepared for us in Heaven. When we hear those wonderful words, ‘Come blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for YOU from the foundation of the world’. There is a seat for everyone – including Lazarus.
Scene 2: In God’s Kingdom Lazarus is poor no longer. For the rich man this is beyond belief. The shock of seeing Abraham cradling Lazarus is more than he can take. But, like me, he has not learnt well; he asks God to send Lazarus as a servant to cool his tongue. Lazarus it seems is there to order about and not as a child of God.
Scene 1: God’s perspective is not the same. He sees Lazarus as one who carried the cross of hunger, poverty and sickness. Now he is enjoying the warmth of Heaven. In life the rich man never bridged the gap from his food-laden table to the poor wretched Lazarus. He now faces a wider chasm between the table of God and himself. He knows now how Lazarus felt in life.
Let us pray: Dearest Lord, open my eyes and my heart to the cry of the poor and then recognise your voice in their cries. You give me at Mass today your parable, not to condemn me, but to alert me that on this earth I create my eternal destiny by how I see You in the poor. Lord, have mercy on me as you did on Lazarus. Amen (Aidan, CP)