Thursday, March 4, 2010


What did Dives (this name only is the Latin for 'rich man') see when he looked at Lazarus?

What would/do we see?

What would Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta have seen?

Monday night, in the storming, I heard insistent ringing of the doorbell at the church office--it was man in desperate need.

It was obvious that he was completely drunk. He admitted as much--he'd been sitting on the side of our church drinking, he said. But he couldn't get home on his bicycle in the storm. After perhaps 5 minutes of conversation (during which, mostly, I was berating him), I agreed to drive him to his home--a nearby trailer park. It was a bizarre journey, to say the least. And I got him into his trailer and said good-bye. He wanted to know my name and phone number, but I said I didn't think that would be a good idea.

I did him a kindness, but I doubt I saw "Christ in the distressing disguise of the poor" (as Mother Teresa used to say). My behavior was not that of worshiping Christ in the poor, the same Christ in the Blessed Sacrament (as she also used to say).

I might have forgotten about this man but for the fact that the Gospel for today was this very parable. And I had a funeral today; the final invocations speak of being taken to the "bosom of Abraham," "where Lazarus is poor no longer"...

What do we see, and how do we interpret what it is that we see? If the famous saying of St. Teresa of Avila is right ("Christ has no body now, but yours..."), am I using the eyes of Christ to see?

Are we?
In the early 20th century Ralph Vaughn Williams traveled the English countryside to record folk songs. His passion was shared by others, including Cecil Sharp and Gustav Holst. One that he found was titled "Dives and Lazarus," and when he worked on the publication of The English Hymnal the tune was named "Kingsfold," used more familiarly (for us) as the tune for I Heard The Voice Of Jesus. There are good versions on YouTube (most, unfortunately, not able to for me to attach to this message). Find the one sung by Maddy Prior at Cecil Sharp House.

1 comment:

  1. A certain sad memory comes to mind. As a professional in the field of Occupational Therapy, I worked with a wide variety of handicapped children and adults. Part of my scheduling revolved around the teaching of ADL (activities of daily living) for the severely handicapped to their teachers and caretakers. I could do this since it was done on a limited basis. My admiration for those who served the severely involved existed because they did what they had to do all day and every day. I found their love greater than mine and it has served as a guide for me to keep a sense of humility before the Lord.