[Jesus said to the Pharisees:] “And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.” Luke 16:20-21
How often do I notice the needs of others? How quick am I to call someone who is lonely, visit someone who is laid up, put off buying something for myself so that I can make a donation to the poor?
How often do I ignore someone who looks unkempt, drunk, ill, derelict? How often do I look the other way to avoid a difficult encounter? How often am I indifferent to the suffering of others?
It only takes a moment to notice the humanity of others, to remember we are all God’s family. One moment at a time, I am making a decision to be more noticing.
Rembrandt van Rijn, 1606-1669
Two women teaching a child to walk
via Wikimedia Commons
[Jesus said,] “No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other,or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.” Luke 16:13
I always have a choice:
patience over impatience;
politeness over rudeness;
compassion over self-centeredness;
acceptance over prejudice;
love over indifference.
Who will I choose to serve today?
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 1606 – 1669
The Return of the Prodigal Son (1642)
drawing with pen and brush (19 × 23 cm) — ca. 1642 Teylers Museum, Haarlem
via Wikimedia Commons
He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’” Luke 15:31-32
This week I have felt lost in a maze of stuff. Medical stuff, workplace stuff, family stuff. Obligations, responsibilities, personalities. World strife, political mayhem, power struggles.
God is looking for me and looking out for me as I stumble through the maze of life. When I remember God, remember to call out to God, remember to place my life and will into God’s gentle care, I am not lost but found and that is cause for rejoicing.
[Jesus addressed them,] “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:27
My “own cross” is my responsibility to love God with all my heart, soul, and mind, and my neighbor as myself.
How have I shown love for God today? How have I loved myself today? Who are my neighbors? How have I loved a neighbor today?
Lord, let the light of your peace shine through me in my little corner of the world. Show me how to respect, honor, and love every member of your human family—those I know and those I will never meet.
JESUS MAFA. The poor invited to the feast, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.
[Jesus said,] “Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:13-14
I cannot imagine seeking out the poor, crippled, lame, or blind to have a meal at my home. What would I cook for them, I who am not much of a cook? Annie’s gluten free macaroni and cheese?
I think the point Jesus is making is that I must learn to overcome self-centeredness and become aware of others and their needs. I must learn to help others quietly and unobtrusively, without expecting thanks or any kind of return. I must learn to give freely, with open hands, just as God gives me love and compassion without end. I must learn to welcome everyone I meet, not just those who might be able to further my career, or those who make me smile, or those whose opinions match my own. I must learn to look at everyone with eyes and heart open to see and welcome a precious child of God, a member of God’s beloved human family. I must learn that we all have a place at God’s table and my place is not at the head.