This week we hear Jesus tell the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, in which an extremely wealthy man lives opulently every day while and extremely impoverished man named Lazarus lays outside his gate everyday hoping for a scrap of food from his table. Even though Lazarus sits outside the gate everyday the rich man never helps him, interacts with him, or offers him anything. They never speak until they die, and Jesus says that Lazarus is taken up into the bosom of Abraham and the rich man is tormented in Hades, with a gulf in between them that cannot be crossed.
One of the things Jesus is highlighting here is the disconnect that comes with extreme wealth and the illusion of complete dependence from others. While the rich man has everything he needs to thrive the reality that is revealed upon his death is that he has been disconnected from his people, symbolized here by Abraham. Lazarus, on the other hand, receives the fruits of the injustice of the world, but is connected to his people, and received into their care when he dies. Lazarus needed the rich man, but the rich man also needed Lazarus. He could not reconnect with the world around him and the suffering at his door because he could not cross the economic lines set up between him and Lazarus and experience what it was like for Lazarus to live as he did. Jesus seems to be teaching us that our hearts will not be open and we will remain disconnected from the world unless we are willing to cross these lines of difference and experience the world through the lens of another persons life.
Who are the people in your community who's lives are vastly different than your own? How might you connect with them across this divide? What might you learn about the world and yourself by doing so?