Gospel Reflections

26th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Luke 16:19-31

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Janelle Sevier

Published: September 25, 2016


While there are many things to consider from today’s reading, the thing that strikes me is distance. There was distance and a great chasm between the two men after death, but even more telling was the distance between them when they were alive.

The text gives us the picture clearly. How Dives (“rich man” in Latin) kept himself distant from Lazarus as he walked in and out of his home each day. How he never let himself be close; how he never let himself feel any need.  How the many things he did see and value kept him from touching this experience of his life. Such detail: purple garments, sumptuous meals, dogs licking at the sores. The contrast is skillfully accentuated; the man at the door, though close, could not have been further away.

After his death, Dives sought to close the distance between them. He wanted Lazarus, whom he had never truly seen before, to be sent to bridge the gap, to see him and care for his pain. By that time, however, even the physical expanse between them was too great. The distance — on every level — was utterly complete.

The reading has led me to ask myself: Who/what do I always keep at a distance and why? Who/what do I refuse to see? With what accoutrements do I surround myself that hamper my ability to see, that enable me to “keep my distance?” Whatever they are, they need to go.  

Meeting the other face to face, heart to heart will lead me to know and value, see and respond. I pray for eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart ready to respond.

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