this is how we begin to heal

BY ANNA ROBERTSON | March 4, 2021
Today’s Readings

In today’s Gospel, a destitute Lazarus finds himself separated in life from the rich man by a doorway and the rich man’s inaction; in death, the rich man languishes in eternal torment, unable to reach Lazarus for the fiery chasm between them. There’s a temptation here to relish the rich man’s comeuppance—who doesn’t love a good story of just desserts?—but the truth is that we each contain a Lazarus and a rich man, and we do our best to keep them at arm’s length with our own slammed doors and fiery chasms.

this is how we begin to heal

Photo by Glen Jackson on Unsplash

What are your wounded parts, covered in sores, that you would rather not look at? What are those parts of you that you would just as soon relegate to eternal damnation if it meant you could be free of them? And when your deep shame clamors for your attention, do you respond by patiently tending the wounds and sharing the food at your table? Or do you turn up the volume on your headphones in an attempt to drown out the knocking and reinforce the barrier between you and your shame?

When we fail to tend our wounds with compassion, we often end up transmitting them onto others; entire societies that neglect their shame project it outward as oppression. We need only look at the U.S. prison industrial complex, which currently locks up more than two million human beings, disproportionately Black and Brown, to see this cycle in action. Consider, too, how our throwaway, consumer culture contributes to climate change as it simultaneously feeds our shame and sells us the anesthetics to avoid feeling it.

Today’s Gospel calls us to be bridges over the chasms that stand between us and our belonging in God’s web of life. This work asks us to recognize the ways that the very ruptures we seek to heal in the world play out in our interior life, and to turn toward these dynamics with compassion and curiosity. This is how the chasm becomes a threshold, a site of possibility and transformation. This is how we begin to heal.

For Reflection: 

  • What ruptures in your interior life do you need to approach with compassion and curiosity?
  • How can this act allow you to be an agent of possibility and transformation in the broader world? 

3 replies
  1. Avatar
    Candace Fisher says:

    As I was reading this meditation, I said “wow!”out loud. – I never thought of the story of Lazarus and the rich man man in this way. It made me think about the meaning of so many stories in the gospels such as Martha and Mary, the prodigal son and his older brother, etc. We all have those two forces within us and it’s often such a challenge to balance them. Thanks for bringing this awareness to me. Acceptance and loving how we are made is the key.

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    Dr Eileen Quinn Knight says:

    The wounded parts covered in sores are those aspects of my life that don’t reach out to the oppressed or marginalized. I need to do this daily not sporadically. I need social justice to reign in my heart and my mind so we can move toward a better world, a better society, a better Church. I need to imitate those who are deeply involved in social justice in our Church. I need to pray/love all those who care for others in this way. The Scriptures give us the jumping off point and I can fulfill those aspects by uncovering the sores and filling them with the necessary movement forward toward transformation.

    Reply

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