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Pope Benedict: the ‘Yes’ of the other enabling the begging man to ‘live’

On the Gospel of Luke (16:19-31)

Lazarus wasn’t loved, in fact it was even worse he was ignored. As far as the rich man was concerned Lazarus didn’t exist. Thus it appears that God’s anger was provoked not because the man had money and ‘feasted sumptuously every day’, but because he missed the frequent opportunities to turn and let Lazarus know that he was good; that he existed.

All that was required of the rich man was that he spend time with Lazarus, “could you not watch one hour with me?” (Matthew 24:40). Pope Benedict calls this the ‘Yes’ of the other, reaching Lazarus, enabling the begging man to ‘live’, and so opening up for him a meaningful existence. This act of love, on behalf of the rich man, would have been a rebirth for Lazarus, a new creation.

It is sometimes easier for us to kneel and experience the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament for an hour, than to sit and encounter Him in the poor and dispirited. We are all in need of affirmation through the love of one another. One of the great sayings of the Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta was: “it is not poverty that is the greatest disease effecting humanity, but loneliness”.

Let us endeavor to notice Christ not just in the obvious places, but in our daily encounters; and let us, through God’s grace, bring some of the supernatural love we possess, as baptized Christians, to those who wait for love.



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