Homily on Seeing and Feasting with Lazarus
Release Date: 11/04/2018
Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man
St. Luke 16:19-31
So much to learn here. Focus on a lesson it gives to us as members of a parish that has been given the fullness of the faith.
For us: We are the Rich Man and this is the place where we feast scrumptiously and wear kingly garments.
The Eucharist – it is the great feast, a feast without end. Always a banquet and there is always more.
Our Kingly Robes – we have put on Christ. Our baptismal garments transform us into sons of God, ones who act in the “Name of God”, and rulers of the age to come.
The place of our feasting is beautiful, separated from the cares and disasters of the world. When we come through the gates of this temple we are entering into a special place and special time. A place of beauty and song and fellowship that contrasts so starkly with the disharmony and ugliness that seems to dominate life outside the gates.
It is an amazing fact. We are beyond rich, beyond blessed. This feast, the transformation, the protection and beauty. Isn't this the way life is meant to be lived?
Yes it is. But putting this beauty into the context of the parable helps us realize how badly we have failed.
The Rich Man is the main player in the parable, the one whose example we are meant to learn from.
But it is not a good example. It is a look in the mirror that is designed to move us to change. To get us to appreciate the purpose of the blessings we receive and to see the great evil if we horde these blessings.
There is more than enough here for us to share, but we have hoarded our blessings so long that we know no other way. We bemoan the loss of our loved ones and the empty pews around us, but fail to notice and help the many Lazarus' at our door.
Nor is it just a matter of finding ways to invite the spiritually malnourished to this banquet, we have to break out of the habits of our personal and parish lives that isolate us from them; the many ways that we ourselves segregate our life in Christ that we experience and love here at St. Mary's from the way we live in our homes, our friendships, and all of our other activities. We do not see Lazarus outside our gates to the extent that we only look for God here in this Church and only look for spiritual nourishment within these walls.
The “food of which we know not” that Christ speaks of is not just Eucharistic or His union with the Father and the Holy Spirit, it is the nourishment that we receive when we share our lives with others, and especially those in need. This is one of the constituent motivations behind the Eucharist: Christ offering Himself, His time, His attention – His very life – so that people who are suffering might be saved. We have the opportunity to make this same sacrifice to the people in our families, our friendships, and our lives every moment of every day.
When we begin to see God in every person in our life and not just in the icons and experiences within these walls, when we begin to see that the it is our love and service that can help nourish them and bring them to the banquet, then we will have begun to learn the lesson of the Parable of the Rich Man.