Luke tells us the story of the rich man and Lazarus, the beggar asking for scraps off his table. When the two die, the situation reverses. Lazarus is at Abraham’s side. The rich man, in contrast, finds himself in hell begging that Lazarus give him a simple drop of water to cool his burning tongue.
Unfortunately, we see the former situation repeat itself more times per day than we can count. In its most recent survey, the federal government estimated that there were 6,904 homeless in Washington, DC. We see them every day: on our walk to the metro; as we leave our offices for lunch; as we walk to church on Sunday morning. But, do we do anything to help?
I’ll be the first to admit that far too often I am like the rich man. Far too often, I ignore those in need around me. Why?
Lent is a time to reflect on our lives. And today, let us reflect on how we can help those less fortunate then us. No single one of us can solve the problem of homelessness in our city. But, if each of us contributes in some way—buying someone a meal, volunteering at Grace’s Table, editing resumes through Miriam’s Kitchen—we can improve the lives of our fellow men and women. In doing so, we can avoid the fate of the rich man and live in God’s eternal love.
Appointed readings for today: Jeremiah 17:5-10, Psalm 1, Luke 16:19-31