This morning at Mass we heard the familiar parable of Jesus about a rich man and the beggar Lazarus just outside his door. This was complemented at Mass by Psalm 1, in which we heard, "The LORD watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes." It is striking that the rich man thought only of himself. Even after death his only thoughts were about his parched lips and his own suffering. In life he failed to see the needs of someone at his doorstep, and in death he thought only of himself and his brothers. Yet, we do not know his name. For all eternity he will remain anonymous. For all of his wealth and all of his ego, he is nameless. We do remember the poor man, Lazarus. Lazarus lives in our memory forever, while "the way of the wicked vanishes." After our death our remembrance will be only as great as those whom we have helped in this life. If we helped ourselves more than others, we will have a small remembrance indeed. How many of our conversations with God, like those of the forgotten rich man, include the words "me" or "I?" Perhaps the measure of devotion is how few of our prayers refer to ourselves. Lord, enlarge my vision and open my arms to the needs of others.
February 28, 2013
Msgr. William J. King