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.’
Reflection: Food. It fuels the body, nourishes the soul and binds family and friends. Food. It is a common denominator of all humanity regardless of ethnicity, race, religion or culture. Food. It is a mainstay of the Christian story: The Last Supper, Bread of Life, Feeding the 5000, celebratory meal of the return of the prodigal son and Christ’s directive to feed the hungry. We hear and read about hunger almost every week, and we have learned a new term: food insecurity. The USDA defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. The Midwest Food Bank (Peoria) became aware of food insecurity in our central Illinois area and the effect it has on young children, particularly the impact on their education. To help combat this situation a program has been developed to pass out food that children take home, usually on the weekends to get them through until Monday. These are called Hope Packs. Currently 35 schools in five counties are being supplied each week.
Prayer: Lord, during the Lenten season, particularly as we enjoy a family meal or lunch with friends, help us be aware of the hunger in our neighborhoods. Open our hearts to the needs of others, lead us to donate or volunteer our time and energy to help others. Amen.