When I think about the Gospel for Thursday of the Second Week of Lent (Lk 16:19-31), I’m reminded of an old saying: “If grave stones could talk”. In the Gospel, Jesus tells the story of Lazarus, a poor man who dies and was carried away by the angels to the “bosom of Abraham”. At the same time, a rich man died – a man whose greed kept him from allowing the poor man (Lazarus) to benefit from the scraps that fell from his table. When the poor man died, he was sent to the netherworld. From there he begged Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his five brothers to change their ways lest they end up in eternal torment also. Abraham refuses the request and the story continues.
This week we will bury a good friend and faith-filled woman who was like an aunt to me. She was a model of courage, determination and Marian attitude who was loved by many, many people. Her battle with breast cancer was a long and arduous one, and she suffered much and yet she never allowed the cancer to be the center of her life – it was merely an inconvenience along the way.
Now that she’s gone, all the things I wished I’d asked her while she was still alive come to mind, one after another. Why didn’t I find a way to ask them? Her wisdom and insight could have benefited not only me, but countless others. Like the rich man in Jesus’ parable, I realize that it’s too late.
Lent is an opportunity to prevent ourselves from being too late. It’s our chance to dig deeply into our hearts in order to root out all that separates us from ourselves, from others, and from God. It’s a reminder that we still have time to share, not only the scraps, but even the finest from our table with the poor, be that poor of body or poor of spirit. If grave stones could talk, those who have gone before us would warn us of the same.