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The Good News for the day, March 1, 2018

Thursday of the Second Week of Lent (233)

Jesus addresses especially religious leaders (Pharisees)“Once upon a time there was a rich man who dressed in expensive suits, used fine linen and ate grandly every day. Meanwhile, lying by his door was a poor fellow, Lazarus, his skin covered with sores. He would gladly have eaten even any scraps that fell from the rich man’s table to fill his stomach. Dogs would come and lick his sores. When the poor man did die, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man died, too, but was buried. From the world of the grave where he was in torment, he raised his eyes; he could see Abraham from afar, with Lazarus at his side. The rich guy called, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in some water and come to cool my tongue, for I am suffering agony in these flames.’ Abraham answered, ‘My son, remember that you got so much good during your lifetime; Lazarus, for his part, got what was bad. Now he is comforted here—you are in agony. Besides, between us and you a great divide has been set to prevent anyone from crossing over who might want to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’ He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he can warn them, so that they won’t end up in this place of torment.’ Abraham answered: ‘They already have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to those.’ He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead would just go to them, they would repent.’ Then Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, then they won’t be persuaded if someone would rise up from the dead.’ (Luke 16)

 As a poet, Jesus, like Dante, paints a vivid picture of heaven and hell. In a story you may have noticed in your own life, Jesus impresses you with horror and hope—the horror of indifference, the hope for how people change once suffering happens.

Enjoying the benefits of money—this mini movie implies—can lead you to ignore—and then fail to notice, respect, or appreciate other people’s needs. Too much comfort and freedom from want—the “good life”—too often can blind and deafen any of us to needy brothers and sisters. (You and I see this happening.) Suffering can save you from denial and indifference. Suffering can awaken you to grow up, and to care for someone else’s need—a need not so much for food or medicine, but love and care.

See then for yourself this rich man grow into caring once he experiences suffering; see the  poor man in turn pointing everyone towards what is important—waking up to messengers calling everyone to stop denying what is essential—to love one another.

 Avoid dangerous comfort—is the message; Wake up—Love one another. Be Poor.

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