On Being Sensitive to Those Around Us


Thursday of the Second Week of Lent

Jer 17: 5-10; Luke 16: 19-31

Dc. Larry Brockman

“Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh”.  Can you imagine these words of Jeremiah ringing in the rich man’s ears?  How that would make him feel?  I can, but as prophetic as they were, somehow I don’t think the rich man would have heard them while he was living.  Even if he was a synagogue or temple going Jew at the time, he probably would not really have heard them.  Because when things are going well for you, as they were for the rich man, these words just kind of go in one ear and out the other. 

We tell ourselves, yes, but I am not really trusting in human beings, nor am I seeking strength in the flesh.  I am just trying to live the life God gave me- and that takes time and effort to maintain.  The reality is that most of us are so much immersed in our own lives, trusting in the small circle of friends and family we have, and trying to control our lives, by maintaining a solid job and finances, that we are not do not get involved in the pain and suffering of those around us.  Just like the Rich man in the story, we see the Lazaruses of our day alright-  the guy across the street that lost his job, the family next door where the mom has breast cancer, the kid down the block whose parents are struggling with his drug problem; but our first priority is ourselves, and the security of our own families.  We sympathize, but generally do not get involved.  The rich man does not object to the scraps that Lazarus got from the table, but he did not actively move to help Lazarus, and it can be that way for us too. 

Now Lent is a good opportunity for us to reflect, to reflect on our lives and on our needs versus our wants.  That’s why we fast and abstain and give something up for Lent.  So that we can become more sensitive to what’s going on around us, and not so absorbed in ourselves.  In today’s world, we don’t have to look very far to see the pain and suffering.  There are a lot of Lazaruses out there in our neighborhoods.  So, take a moment to reflect.  What is going on around you that cries out for help?  Not just money- the almsgiving of the pocketbook, but the almsgiving of the heart.  Recall the closing lines of Jeremiah:  I, the Lord, probe the mind and test the heart, to reward everyone according to his ways, according to the merits of his deeds”. 

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