BEING SELF –CENTERED IS OUR OWN PRIVATE HELL
The parable of the rich man and Lazarus is one of startling contrasts
but at its heart the message is simple: be alert to the needs under your nose. The rich man is totally self-centered, and that self-centeredness leads him to hell. The hell I think of is the hell of self-absorption, of so totally being absorbed in ourselves that our lives cease having meaning and purpose, and leave us with an empty shell.
Our streets are full of homeless, suffering people, and we walk by, and do not give notice, but Marian Wright Edelman says to us:
“You just need to be a flea against injustice. Enough committed fleas biting strategically can make even the biggest dog uncomfortable and transform even the biggest nation.”
Be a flea, bite hard in the smallest spaces, and your life will transform the world.
Feed someone, talk to someone, simply speak, treat them as a person.
A second meaning to the Lazarus story is that Jesus is not only talking about the physically poor, but the minorities of the world.
First in regard to queer people or as several people have so crudely called me on the blog and in person– us “homosexuals”. Your words and actions towards me are first of all despicable, and when you tell me they are in the name of Jesus you make me vomit. Secondly, If was not already a follower of Jesus, but thinking about it I would walk away in a second. The Jesus I follow says loudly by his words and his life: “Love your neighbor”, his whole life is one of self giving love. This political season has brought out how much we are the Lazarus’s of the world, the events in Uganda, the Pulse Bar, and other parts of the world remind us that we are Lazarus. The political rhetoric is not just words, but the underlying attitude of many.
Secondly, the recent events on police brutality and violence throughout the country remind us that racism and discrimination is alive and well.
Our self-centeredness has kept blinders on our eyes, like the rich man we remain with blinders on our eyes, and we pave our way to a hell of that is destructive in our relationships, our society, and within ourselves. To be alive we must engage life, we must suffer with our fellow human beings, and in that suffering we experience resurrection. We must be fleas biting against injustice. And we will live well, and die well. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!
Father C. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.S.T., D.Min. candidate
P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164