Amos 6:1a, 4-7
Today’s gospel is not a pleasant story if you describe yourself as "rich" or even middle class. The picture of a rich man languishing in flames while the poor man Lazarus is sipping cool water on the other side of a great chasm no doubt makes many of us a little uncomfortable. Yet we are told that the rich man did have his chance for a happier afterlife if only he had ministered to poor, sore-covered Lazarus while he was still alive. When the rich man was alive, there was no chasm or gap between him and Lazarus. Lazarus was as close as his own front door.
Yet many of us are like the rich man in that we create "gaps" between ourselves and those who are less fortunate. We live in houses guarded by security systems; fenced-in, gated enclaves to make sure we don’t see, hear or touch those who might remind us of the reality most people in our world deal with every day. Our gospel today clearly demonstrates that gaps are not good, especially in the long run!
In addition to our gospel, now we have Pope Francis, who is crossing "gaps" every day, living and preaching the gospel of inclusion and love among us all. We Passionists also preach God’s inclusive love for all at the foot of the Cross. We’d better be "crossing gaps" every day, bringing sips of water and signs of love to all those who are thirsty, covered with sores and in need of God’s healing. Indeed, my reflection today leaves me with a clear and present challenge to myself; to be the "balm in Gilead" for all those who suffer right outside my front door!
"There is a balm in Gilead, to make the wounded whole; there is a balm in Gilead, to heal the sin-sick soul."
Terry McDevitt, Ph.D. is a member of our Passionist Family who volunteers at the Passionist Assisted Living Community in Louisville, Kentucky.