Saturday, March 16, 2013

Day 28 of Lent, Saturday, March 16, 2013

Today's Reading: Luke 16:14-31

Well the money woes continue in Luke's gospel.   Not that Jesus is poor or suffering from a lack of funding - rather, he is casting down the rich throughout this chapter.

Even when he mentions his stance against divorce - if put into context of the chapter, it would be prohibitive for the men and not necessarily the women.  Men could divorce their wives - women couldn't afford the same option.  If a woman was divorced, she would have difficulty finding another husband.  She may have been reduced to prostitution depending on the circumstances.  It would create someone who would be considered poor.  By prohibiting divorce, Jesus is standing with those of his day who didn't have as many rights.

The parable of Lazarus is a reversal of what the people of the day would have naturally assumed.  If someone was rich, they were thought to have God's favor.  Consequently, the poor were often seen to be out of sorts with God.  Lazarus is a complete role reversal of popular thought.

Americans like the idea of unrestricted access to God.  It isn't dependent on your wealth or resources. However, we don't like the seeming preference for the poor.  Not that we think of ourselves as rich.  But unless someone printed this out for you, according to the standards of the world, simply by reading this, you would be considered a person of means.

I believe that this parable is not chastising us for being well-off.  It is simply moving us beyond what our expectations of what compassion should be.  This is something we all need to re-examine from time to time.

Lazarus, is that you?

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