18th Sunday after Pentecost-The Rich Man and Lazarus
What is the opposite of love? Many think the answer is hate, but that is only partially correct. We find the answer to this question in the indifference or apathy toward our fellow human beings. This inertia renders us lower than the other creatures who, in scientific studies, often demonstrate great compassion and love toward those of their species who are sick and dying. Experts relate that chimpanzees will often spend time with a member who is sick and dying offering comfort such as gentle stroking and compassionate kisses on the forehead and cheek.
If God has given such gifts to the lower creatures of the earth, how much more has he given to us? Yet, like the Rich Man in today’s Gospel, we often ignore the Lazarus in our life. Our eyes cannot see the pain of loneliness nor our ears hear the silent cry for love. Instead, we walk by those in need like the “Levite and Priest.”
In our Divine Liturgy, we offer up a prayer as we are ready to conclude the service with these words from the Epistle of St. James, “Every good gift, every perfect gift, comes down from Thee, the Father of Light.” We are blessed with the many gifts that God has bestowed upon us, but part of our responsibility as Christians is to share those gifts. The Lazarus in our life needs to feel the love of Christ that sees a need, hears a cry, and yearns for the physical presence of another human being. Love, not indifference, is the gift that God has given us, and we are expected to share that gift of love with those who do not have it in their life.
As you go about your daily routine, share some love with a Lazarus with a smile, a hello, or some act of kindness that sends them a message-you mean something to me. You will hear the Lord whisper in your heart, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”