Beware of the invisible The eternal takes refuge there

XXVI Sunday
Ordinary Time – Year C

At that time Jesus said to the Pharisees: «There was a rich man, who wore clothes of purple and fine linen, and every day he gave himself to lavish banquets. A poor man, named Lazarus, stood at his door, covered with sores, eager to feed himself with what fell from the rich man’s table; but it was the dogs that came to lick his wounds. One day the poor man died and was brought by the angels next to Abraham. The rich man also died (…). Standing in the underworld amidst torments, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham in the distance, and Lazarus beside him (…)
Story of a rich man, a beggar and a “great abyss” dug between people. What ditches between us and separates us? How are they overridden? History from which the decisive ethical and moral principle emerges: taking care of the human against the inhuman. First half: two protagonists who cross each other and do not talk to each other, one is dressed in sores, the other in purple; one lives like a nabob, in a luxurious house, the other is sick, lives in the street, disputes a few crumbs to the dogs. Is this the world that God dreamed of for his children? A God who is never mentioned in the parable, yet he is there: he does not live in the light but in the wounds of a poor man; there is no room for him inside the palace, because God is not present where the heart is absent. Perhaps the rich man is even a devotee and prays: “O God, listen to my plea”, while he is deaf to the lament of the poor. He climbs over it every day like a puddle. To stop, not even touch the idea: the poor are invisible to those who have lost the eyes of the heart. How many invisible in our cities, in our countries! Beware of the invisible, the eternal takes refuge there.

The rich man does not harm Lazarus, he does not harm him. He does something worse: he does not make it exist, he reduces it to a refusal, to nothing. In his heart he killed him. “The true enemy of faith is narcissism, not atheism” (K. Doria). For Narcissus nobody exists. Instead a Samaritan who was traveling saw him, was moved with pity, got off his horse, bent over the half-dead man. To see, to be moved, to get off, to touch, very human verbs, the first so that our land is inhabited not by ferocity but by tenderness. Whoever does not welcome the other, in reality isolates himself, he is the first victim of the “great abyss”, of exclusion.
Second phase: the poor and the rich die, and the parable places them at the antipodes, as it was already on earth. «Please, Father Abraham, send Lazarus with a drop of water on the tip of his finger». A droplet to cross the abyss.
What costs you, Father Abraham, a little miracle! One word for my five brothers! But no, because it is not the return of a dead that will convert someone, it is life and the living. It is not miracles that change our trajectory, not apparitions or signs, the earth is already full of miracles, full of prophets: they have the prophets, listen to them; have the Gospel, listen to it! Even more: the earth is full of poor Lazarus, let them listen to them, look at them, touch them. “The first miracle is to realize that the other exists” (S. Weil). There is no supernatural event that is worth the cry of the poor. Or their silence.
The care of creatures is the only measure of eternity.
(Readings: Amos 6,1.4-7; Psalm 145; 1 Timothy 6, 11-16; Luke 16, 19-31)


Beware of the invisible The eternal takes refuge there