Thursday, March 24, 2011

St. Jerome on Lazarus

First and foremost, St. Jerome points out that Lazarus, meaning one who has been helped, has a name and the rich man is not deemed worthy of a name. As they reach their final destinations, God reminds the rich man that He did not ask him to throw away his wealth, but merely to give in alms to Lazarus that which he was going to throw out, the crumbs from his table. Lazarus lay at this man's gate, right in his face. The rich man could not say that he was unable to see Lazarus or that he was unaware of the sores that covered his body. He probably had to step over Lazarus to come and go from his everyday life. St. Jerome makes the point that the magnitude of his suffering should have sparked his utmost compassion. But, it doesn't and the rich man is left to suffer for eternity. God asks us today to show compassion. For the massive poverty and devastation in the world and for the man with a name who sits right in front of us every day, may we all show a tiny bit of compassion, if not from our wealth than at least from our leftovers. God knows, that even the leftovers of those of us who have are enough to make a difference. Even our leftovers. St. Jerome suggests that we not step over the very ones that will win us Heaven.

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