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Right Between the Eyes

By FATHER KYLE INGELS
03/16/2017 | Comments

Right Between the Eyes

 

Sometimes you read or hear something that just strikes you, something that hits you right between the eyes.  I had that experience at Mass tonight.

 

            I haven’t felt like writing a blog these past days.  I just didn’t feel anything particularly hitting me, and it’s been a little bit of a frustrating stretch in ministry. But at Mass tonight with the students, the Gospel really struck me.

 

            We have all heard it many times.  It hasn’t been all that long since I preached about this Gospel: the story of the rich man and Lazarus.  It’s a story with which most of us are pretty familiar.  There is a rich man who lives a very comfortable life, and a poor man, Lazarus, who suffers pretty severely during his earthly journey.  When they both die, Lazarus ends up rewarded by the joys of Heaven.  The rich man isn’t so lucky.  Since he had his reward on earth, his eternity isn’t too appealing.  The Gospel even tells us he is in torment.

 

            As we listen to the Gospel, we are told the poor man is literally at the threshold of the rich man’s home.  It seems to imply that the rich man has to step over Lazarus to even enter his house.  There are many levels of sin to this story, but to me, the greatest sin isn’t that the rich man didn’t give Lazarus money or that he didn’t share the scraps from his table.  The greatest sin, again, to me, is that the rich man doesn’t acknowledge Lazarus at all. 

 

            Many commentators or homilists use this Gospel as a challenge to take better care of the poor.  Tonight, I am using it as a challenge to take better care of people...period!  Who is the Lazarus the Lord has put in our path.  It could be a homeless person downtown, but it doesn’t have to be.  It could be anyone.  Maybe it’s the person who has been trying to spend time with us?  Maybe it’s the person who we haven’t bothered to text or call back?  Maybe it’s the person we keep telling we are too busy to meet for coffee?

 

            The Wall Street Journal had a great article this week: “You’re Not Busy, You’re Just Rude.” If a headline has ever been perfect for the way I feel a lot of the time, this is it.  I have written many times, preached many times, and talked to others many times about how much I hate all of us constantly saying we are busy.  The reality is it’s all about what and whom we choose to make a priority in our life.

 

            God has put at least one Lazarus in to each of our lives.  As we continue through Lent, I’m asking God to give me eyes to see who it is and to respond as God wants me to respond.


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