Seeing Beyond Your Suffering

September 25, 2022
Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Readings for Today


“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day.  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 16:19-21

From one perspective, Lazarus was existing in a very undesirable state.  He was poor, starving, and miserable.  He was covered with sores that dogs would lick.  This is very descriptive language used by Jesus and it’s helpful to do your best to imagine this miserable physical state that Lazarus was in.

The key to this story is that even though Lazarus was in a miserable physical condition, his soul was in the hands of God.  We know that to be true, because we are told that when he died, he was “carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham” (Luke 16:22).

This story provides us all with an opportunity to look at what is most important in life.  The rich man had all he wanted in this life but clearly lacked charity on account of the fact that he ignored the physical needs of Lazarus.  For that reason, the rich man was spiritually impoverished, whereas Lazarus was spiritually prosperous.  

When you can keep your eyes on what is most important in life, spiritual wealth, it will make the many other hardships you endure less burdensome.  Perhaps you will never be in the same physical condition as Lazarus, but you may encounter other great pains and hardships in life.  When this happens, the tendency may be to become fixated upon those sufferings and to take your eyes off your interior union with God.  

Reflect, today, upon how you would deal with living like Lazarus.  Reflect upon what your own “sores” are in life.  They may be varied in type, degree and number from those of other people’s sufferings, but they will be encountered in your life.  As you identify your suffering, turn your eyes from it to the presence of God in your soul, and allow His presence to fill you with the riches of His grace.

Lord, I offer to You my suffering and pain, my misery and hurt.  Help me to always keep my eyes on You and to seek satisfaction only in the riches of Heaven.  Fill my heart, especially, with love of You and charity for others so that I will be truly rich in what matters most.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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Feature Image: The Rich Man and the Poor Lazarus By Hendrick ter Brugghen, via Wikimedia Commons