Thursday of the Second Week
Set me free this day my God from all that holds me back from compassion, all the fear, the hesitation and the doubt. Grant me the grace to show your caring face to one unexpected person today. Philip Harrison SJ
Entering into prayer
The Jesus Prayer
Listen to each phrase and then add your voice to it . . .‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me, a sinner . . . Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me, a sinner . . . Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me, a sinner . . . continue on your own with this . . . the phrase may shorten naturally . . .
Today's Scripture (Luke 16:19-31)
'There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.” But Abraham said, “Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.” He said, “Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house – for I have five brothers – that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.” Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.” He said, “No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” ’
Food for Thought
There are many good rich people in Luke’s writings: Joseph of Arimathea who buried Jesus; Zacchaeus who invited Jesus to his house and undertook to give half his wealth to the poor; women who supported Jesus and his disciples with their resources as they travelled to Jerusalem. In Philippi, the wealthy trader, Lydia, gave hospitality to Paul. But it was the poor and those on the margins who benefited from Jesus’ healing ministry and his resources. However, in this Gospel, Jesus is telling an old story; warning those who were lovers of money. Dives, was rich and prosperous, but not blessed, because he failed to notice the beggar Lazarus starving at his gate; he had a heart turned aside from the Lord.The beggar Lazarus, was blessed by God, despite his sores and his hunger, since at his death, angels carried him away.
Suggestions for Prayer
As shown by the many mentions of generosity of people in the Gospel, the attitude towards wealth is more important than having it in the first place. Instead of being in his bubble, how might Dives have changed his ways if he spoken with Lazarus, gotten to know him and then gone on to help him? How would Lazarus have responded? Perhaps think about the times you have been on the receiving end of incredible generosity: how did it feel? Was there anyone who helped you, but you were unable to say thank you? If you had the chance how would you respond to them now? In Jesus’ story, Dives would have walked past Lazarus many times, yet did not get to know him. What people do we regularly see or walk past every day or every week or live nearby, and have not gotten to know? Parables are meant to make us pause and think. Jesus contrasts a rich man, who enjoys fine food and wondrous garments, with a starving beggar, whose only companions are ravenous dogs. Paradoxically the second figure receives a blessing and the first is cursed.What blessings have you received and given? What hurt have you received over time and what hurts have you inflicted on others? Tell God about those emotions and memories, those things that weigh you down.
How are you going to respond today?
Though he was rich, says Paul, he became poor. Lent is a good time to reflect on our own attitude to money and on the use that we make of it.We must not lose sight of the Lazarus who lies outside our gate.company of the prophets and beside Jesus himself.
Image for the day
- How does this image make you feel?
- Have you ever felt a little like Lazarus?
- What would Jesus say to comfort you?
- What can we learn from the parable?
Examen (Review of Prayer)
When you come towards the end of your time of prayer, or at the end of your day, talk to God about what has come up for you, what went well and what didn’t. End with a formal prayer, such as the Lord’s Prayer/Our Father