Lectionary Reflection: Luke 16:19-31: How is your Hearing?

So, the story of the Rich man and Lazarus says all poor people are saints going to heaven and all rich people are sinners destined for Hell, right?  Not even close.  In fact, if you hear a preacher or teacher even hint in this direction, run.

This story has nothing to do with rich or poor.  It has to do with hearing.  Period.

Look, Abraham’s response across the chasm was NOT to justify why Lazarus was in Heaven and the rich man was in Hell.  All he was saying is “Why should you complain?”  The rich man clearly knew he had it easy up until then, but he also knew that his rich brothers might yet be saved regardless of their riches.  “Please, go tell them,” he begged.  The rich man’s family was no more destined for Hell because of their money than Scrooge was destined to suffer Marley’s fate.  No.  Marley went and told Scrooge as much.  Dickens understood.

But while I am at it, let me repeat it:  The disposition of these two men (Heaven and Hell) has nothing to do with their money or lack of it.  In fact, you might say it deliberately shows that money or lack of money doesn’t matter to God.  It is the disposition of the spirit that matters to God.

So anyway…

My wife said I was losing my hearing.  I barely restrained myself from putting my hand to my ear and mumbling, “Eh?  Whad ye say?”

I was standing on the front step to go out in the morning and my wife said she was going to lock the door.  “Wait,” I said.  The door shut.  “Wait,” I yelled.  *click*  I fumbled for my key, unlocked the door and went in.  “I don’t think I am the only one here losing his hearing.”

My wife responded.  “No, I just wasn’t listening.”  Aha!  Closer to the truth!

I have four children.  They have all been, and two of them still are teenagers.  Boy, what teenagers could teach us all about not listening.

I recently blogged on anger, hate, divisiveness and vitriol in the public discourse in this nation.  My diagnosis was that the left and right are not listening to each other.  When someone on the left expresses a genuine concern about the environment, the right only hears “environmental whacko!”  When someone on the right expresses a genuine concern about immigration, the left only hears “bigot and people hater!”  So I shook my finger at both sides of the aisle.  What else could I do?  You can’t have a dialogue with your ears closed.  That is just a monologue.

But we are so good at not listening.  Like when we pray to God, how much time do we spend actually listening to what God has to say to us in response?  (Think about it)…

Allow me to quote myself:  “There is no blindness as dark as willful blindness and no ignorance as dangerous as willful ignorance” —— MGKizzia

The story of the rich man and Lazarus is about NOT listening.  It is about WILLFUL not listening.  And that being the case, how can anyone expect them to hear even if one were to rise from the dead?  Look around you.  How can anyone hear the good news of the resurrection of Jesus Christ when they willfully refuse to listen?

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2 thoughts on “Lectionary Reflection: Luke 16:19-31: How is your Hearing?

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