The rich man has no name, but the poor man is given a name . The name Lazarus which means God is my help. In his suffering, Lazarus never lost hope in God. Instead he keeps focused on God’s promise of hope and eternal life in heaven. The rich man, however, choose not see beyond his self importance and possessions. He never even looked at Lazarus. Now we should ask: who is Lazarus? He is the poorest of the poor. He is all of God’s little ones, he is the disabled, the illegal immigrant, the sick, the lonely, and he is the unborn. Lazarus has a name, Jesus gives him dignity, he is made in the image of God.
The rich man never even looks at Lazarus, he would rather ignore his existence. As he walks by Lazarus each day he is like the priest and Levite in the Good Samaritan parable. The first time the rich man ever really sees Lazarus is when, from Hades “he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side”. Yet across the chasm even the rich man now knows the name of the poor man who was daily at his gate. Lazarus.
First we must “SEE”, then we are called to have compassion, next we will must act with love, reach out to whomever God has brought before us and SEE Jesus in them. Jesus “saw” the woman weeping at the death of her only son, he “had compassion for her” and brought her son to life. Jesus “saw” the crowds, he had compassion, he healed them, and he fed them.
How do we live out what we are taught in our Catholic Faith ”love your neighbor as you love yourself”. Every person God creates is created in His very own Image and Likeness. What would the world look like if we valued each person as being of equal worth?
A daily challenge! We are called to treat everyone as being equally made in God’s image. What a challenge that is! To do this we must look deep into our heart, mind and soul. Then ask ourselves: “how we are doing in this challenge to “put on Christ!”. Do we look at everyone in the same way or do we tend to judge some of our brothers and sisters. Judge them by the way they dress, talk, where they come from or a myriad of other differences they have from us and/or our friends. Or maybe we find it easier to just look the other way and not see those who God places before us. If we cannot see them then there is nothing we can or need to do to help. I’m sure Lazarus was judged by many in this way, especially by the rich man.
As the rich man was judged by his treatment of the poor man, the non-person at his gate, so too will we. How do we choose to spend the gifts that God gives to us, our time, talent, and treasure? Have we taken the scales off our eyes to SEE all those whom God places before us?