"We gather in faith..."

Teaching and commentary from our pastor, Bishop Francis J. Christian


 The story about the rich man and the poor man

Lazarus is familiar to many of us. It is noteworthy

that the poor man is named. I imagine that he was

seldom called by name while begging outside the

rich man’s home. How many nameless men and

women do we encounter on our city streets or

standing on traffic islands alongside our cars? How

often do we avoid eye contact or fail to show the

basic respect of acknowledging another person’s

presence? Even if someone is “working the system,”

that person is still a human being, worthy of dignity

and respect as our sister or brother. Even if we do

not offer someone money or food or drink, we can

treat another person with basic human dignity.

I read a reflection that identifies our homeless

sisters and brothers as prophets who cry out to us as

Amos did to the rich of his day. They remind us that

those who have everything but do not care for our

sisters and brothers in need “shall be the first to go

into exile.” Ignoring the poor could result in our

experiencing the torment of the rich man in the

Gospel parable. The cry of our poorer sisters and

brothers reminds me of lyrics from a ‘60s song: “See

me. Heal me. Touch me. Feel me.” To “keep the

commandment,” as the Letter of Timothy asks, is to

love God by loving our neighbor, rich or poor,

named or unnamed, or…Jesus ate with tax collectors

and sinners, people the “righteous” deemed

unworthy. Like Jesus we are called to acknowledge

these prophets in our midst and feed them with

human dignity, sharing with them the cup of human

respect and love.

Based on “Living the Word” by Laurie Brink, O.P. &

Paul A. Colloton, O.S.F.S.