There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. – Luke 16:19-21
Every Thursday at lunchtime, a group of us at our school meet for about 20 minutes in a session called ‘Lectio Divina’. During this time we’ll sit together to pray and reflect on the Bible reading for the upcoming Sunday mass.
As part of our reflection, we’re all asked to share what particular word or expression from the gospel passage really got our attention. It’s always interesting for me to hear the thoughts of my colleagues and friends, as they delve into how the words of scripture find expression in their own life.
When I was called upon today (Sept. 23) to talk about my chosen word or expression in the passage from Luke’s gospel, I picked the expression ‘dined sumptuously’.
When I think about those two words, I go beyond their literal meaning (obviously the rich man could afford to enrich his palate), and I’m reminded of the life sustaining power and divine inspiration to be had from a daily diet or regimen of reading God’s words.
By making a regular habit of reading the Bible, and giving close consideration to what it says about life (the Book of Proverbs comes immediately to mind), I always feel a renewed sense of confidence as I tend to my daily duties. As I said to my friends today, by “dining sumptuously” from the word of God, I am better able to let go of, or surrender, any burdens I may be harbouring.
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
You may remember a song that came out many years by Johnny Nash. It’s called ‘I Can See Clearly Now’.
The second verse of that great song goes like this:
‘I can see clearly now,
the pain is gone;
All of the bad feelings,
Here is the rainbow,
I’ve been prayin’ for;
It’s gonna be a bright,
bright, sun-shiny day’.
Life will sometimes bring us pain and disappointment, and things won’t always work out the way we think they should. Maybe there are times when we feel like Lazarus – we’re feeling bruised and our spirit is low.
As we’re looking from the other side of the gate (i.e. reflecting back on the negative experience we’ve just come through, or are now going through), it may be difficult to see the rainbow, or even the blue skies.
But it’s then we really need to grab hold to the lifeline of deep reflection on God’s word, and ponder key verses like the one from Jesus in John 14:6: “ I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Just the other day I got an e-mail from one of my students in Grade 7. At the bottom of her message was one of my favorite quotes from the Bible: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).
When I read that verse at the end of her e-mail, my immediate thought was – this is indeed a bright, sun-shiny day.
Leonard Quilty is a Teacher with the Center for Learning@Home in Okotoks, Alberta. He can be reached by e-mail at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’.