“There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day.” Luke 16:19
Today we hear the story of the rich man and Lazarus. While the rich man leads an extravagant life on earth, Lazarus sits outside his gate, longing to eat the scraps that fall from his table.
Looking around us, who is the rich man in our world today? And who is Lazarus? Who is excluded from the feast, denied the things that they need for a healthy and fulfilled life?
This is challenging. It calls us all to reflect on who we are and what our role is in the world today. We might be Lazarus, longing to be seen for the human being that we are, longing for the food we so desperately need.
We might be more like the rich man, enjoying what we have, closing our gates, our eyes and our hearts, to others who are on the margins of our society.
“There is a mentality in some places that if you are disabled, there is no need to educate you, so you are just put somewhere to occupy space,” says Ishmael in Sierra Leone. He has physical disabilities that give him trouble walking, and his wife Lucia is deaf.
Before the Handmaid Sisters reached out to them, Ishmael used to beg on the street. But as he and Lucia became involved with the savings box offered by the Sisters, Ishmael is now able to make a living from working as a blacksmith. He has used the loans to buy the materials that he needs.
He says, “I can’t compare the two lives. There is a vast, vast difference between before and after Sister intervened.”
This Lent, let us take notice of those who are excluded and on the margins. Let us recognise the dignity of each and every human person, made in God’s image, and reach out in love in whatever way we are able.