STEP ONE: PAY ATTENTION
“Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.” – Ps. 1:1-2
Today’s Good News describes the rich man’s clothing and diet. Both of which were fine. There is no mention, however, of any viciousness or cruelty, which are commonly believed to be what keeps a person from heaven. Instead, this parable focuses on is the amount of things in the rich man’s life. These things replace the rich man’s attention to what God had revealed to the rich man in life. All the things that fill the rich man’s life seem to prevent the rich man from seeing and responding to poor Lazarus’ needs. As God asks us all to care for God’s poor and vulnerable, the rich man missed the call. Apparently, over and over again, according to Abraham in the parable. This passing by is what kept the rich man from heaven.
At first glance, this seems to be an overwhelming burden from God. Does this mean I will be judge not only by what I do, but also by what I don’t do – what I don’t see and respond to? Alternatively, however, I believe God is inviting me to start simply. First, see and pay attention to the poor and lonely. God calls me to prioritize the humblest people and spaces in the world above the “things” (people, objects, titles, burdens) in my life that make me “rich.” God invites me to come, as I am, to be with those God loves the most. For me this is a relief. For me, this means that God is guiding me to see the world as God sees it. God is teaching me to pay attention to that which God pays attention. Patiently, God invites me to hope more deeply in God.
How are my wishes different from what God wishes of me? How can I slow down this Lent and appreciate God’s wish for me instead of expecting things of Him?
God, I have heard the scriptures; I have loved angels in my life; I have witnessed miracles. What will it take for me to pay attention to the needs in front of me and place my hope in You?