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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Luke 16, 19-31

'There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day.

And at his gate there used to lie a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores,

who longed to fill himself with what fell from the rich man's table. Even dogs came and licked his sores.

Now it happened that the poor man died and was carried away by the angels into Abraham's embrace. The rich man also died and was buried.

'In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus in his embrace.

So he cried out, "Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames."

Abraham said, "My son, remember that during your life you had your fill of good things, just as Lazarus his fill of bad. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony.

But that is not all: between us and you a great gulf has been fixed, to prevent those who want to cross from our side to yours or from your side to ours."

'So he said, "Father, I beg you then to send Lazarus to my father's house,

since I have five brothers, to give them warning so that they do not come to this place of torment too."

Abraham said, "They have Moses and the prophets, let them listen to them."

The rich man replied, "Ah no, father Abraham, but if someone comes to them from the dead, they will repent."

Then Abraham said to him, "If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead."


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The page of the Gospel on the poor Lazarus is among the most known. It keeps describing one of the most common situations of our present daily life. The rich man who dines sumptuously is not a fact of past times, and even Lazarus has not disappeared. Two people and two situations: beneath is Lazarus, who carefully looks at the rich man waiting for some crumbs, and above, the rich man who did everything as if Lazarus did not exist. He doesn’t even see him. He is blinded by wealth; a blindness that still continues in our cities and in our world. A people of poor men and women lie at the door of the rich, at the door of life, waiting for crumbs that fall from the table of those who dine sumptuously. Truly the rich man has lost not only his name, but also his face. God, on the contrary, chooses Lazarus and calls him by name, as one does with friends, right because he was put aside by people and therefore is loved and chosen by God to take part in the heavenly banquet. To the Lord, and hence to his disciples, the gap between the rich man and Lazarus is an unacceptable scandal and cannot find any justification. But the great chasm marks the very sad destiny of the rich man. Unfortunately, the rich man understood it too late, when it is impossible to pass it. Yet, it would have been easier during his life. He asks for his brothers to be warned. But the rich man does not know that to fill the gap no great efforts are required, opening the Scriptures (Moses and the Prophets) is enough. This is what we are asked to do, especially during this time of Lent. The Word of God touches our hearts and leads us to mercy for the many Lazaruses of our cities. Let us avoid deepening the chasm opened between the few rich and the many poor of our world. Let us avoid it first by hearing the Word of God, and not ourselves, helping and loving the poor, accommodating their needs and their requests to have at least the crumbs that fall from our table. No one is so poor that they cannot help someone poorer. Everyone has experienced that and we are called to communicate this liberating love which gives joy in the present life and will give us eternal life in the future.

Memory of the Church