From a Creighton Student's Perspective
February 21st, 2008
Junior, Theology/Spanish double major, undecided minor
Today’s Gospel passage from Luke carries powerful implications, especially during this time of self-sacrifice and contemplation on our relationship with God and with creation. In this parable about Lazarus, Jesus’ message is radical and challenges our understanding of community and what it means to be a brother and sister in Christ. Drawing from the encyclical, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, by Pope John Paul II, it is seen as a gesture of divine peace “to recognize each people’s equal right, ‘to be seated at the table of the common banquet,’ instead of lying outside the door like Lazarus, while ‘the dogs come and lick his sores,”’ (33).
The lives we lead, whether we currently realize it or not, are integrally connected with the lives of those around us and with those who live oceans away. Luke’s message carries an extreme warning for those who neglect or ignore their brothers and sisters. Although much of the media of our consumer society would reject the following notion, nonetheless, the injustice still exists and persists: “that the ones who possess much are relatively few and those who possess almost nothing are many. It is the injustice of the poor distribution of the goods and services originally intended for all” (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 28). Fundamentally, the goods of creation were created to be used by all, not simply a select few.
This parable speaks to the urgent message perpetuated over a series of decades from Pope Leo XIII to Pope John Paul II on the progressively more urgent need to seek and promote the fully human development of all people. And especially for many of those (including myself) who live in the US, “a greater responsibility rests on those who have more and can do more,” (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 47). In separating ourselves from greater humanity (living in gated communities, communicating with the world around us primarily though e-mail or facebook, etc.), we ultimately separate ourselves from God, who is constantly seeking and pursing us to join him with his Son in the Kingdom. Jesus’ main message in such a story is to remind us of the importance of maintaining our human relationships and to strive for the integral development for all, because in the Kingdom all have a place at God’s table.
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