“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.
In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on 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.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’
He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Both men died. In this, one of the major themes of Lent is again highlighted—remembering that we are dust, and to dust we shall return. The rich man thought his wealth, pleasure, power, and honor could make him greater than just dust. In a sense, he is setting himself up as his own god. But of course, this material addiction clogs his vision from being able to see the One who truly has power over the dust. He is so blinded that he cannot even see those who are sitting right below his front door, begging for his help.
When we sin, we are saying that we are more than dust, even more than God Himself. Our vision is clogged from seeing where God is calling us to serve. That is why it is important that we take advantage of the Sacrament of Confession, especially during Lent. Through Confession, our vision is decluttered from the things that are merely dust, allowing us to see where God is calling us to love Him and our neighbor. In Confession, God clears that dust from our eyes.
-Jacob Price, ‘17 is a member of the Senior Pastoral Team at St. Louis U. High.
Lord, who made us out of the dust, help us to humbly acknowledge that that is where we will return. May we set aside all things that distract us from you through the Sacrament of Confession, so that we may always see you through clean hearts. We pray that those who have been away from the sacrament can return to it like prodigal sons. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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