This week’s scripture readings begin with Jesus doing what he so often does, teach. We begin with the story of Lazarus and the rich man. This story is powerful today, just as it was in first century Palestine. Lazarus was sitting at the rich man’s gate hoping for at least crumbs from the sumptuous table but none were afforded him. In fact the rich man doesn’t even give Lazarus the time of day. Why should he? The rich man was important, wealthy and a person of social status. Lazarus was not in his league. That’s the rub Jesus says. The rich man doesn’t treat Lazarus any better than his dogs, maybe worse.
Following this story Jesus teaches the disciples their duties, so to speak. They were to take care of one another in thought and action. They were to build up and correct. Then we have Jesus healing the ten lepers. I can not read this story without hearing Sr. Ruth’s voice. She often said, Jesus never healed anyone who did not get in his way. How true.
As the chapters unfold, Jesus continues to teach about generosity, love, prayer, forgiveness and being alert. Why was this so important? These characteristics denote a faithful follower of Jesus. Jesus tells us to gird ourselves with the strength of prayer, love and the mindfulness of others. The stories of the blind man crying out to Jesus and Zacchaeus climbing a tree to get a glimpse of him are both stories in which people got in his way, leading to healing and seeing a new way to live. Through Jesus’ teachings and actions the disciples are experiencing the kingdom of God in their midst. They have a front row seat of what it means to live a holy and life-giving life.
As we make our way to Jerusalem how have you gotten in the way of Jesus? What pain deep within you longs to cry out to Jesus for help but your pride and ego has gotten in the way of liberation? Before we can help another we must first understand our own need of help. May God continue to give us courage in this Lenten journey to cry out for healing.