At a Lenten Parish Mission in my former parish, St. Roch in Flat Rock, I once heard Fr. Hugh Burns talk about all the essences of the Kingdom of God. The letters of the word K.I.N.G.D.O.M stands for several things in acronym form—and the “N” meant now—as in we do not know when we will be called. Our lives must be lived with the urgency of our salvation. In the readings today we hear that after death it is too late. Salvation consists of heeding the Word of God now.
One of the most awful moments for me in today’s Gospel story of Lazarus and Dives, is how Dives (the rich man), knows Lazarus’ name. Dives knew the name of the man starving on his doorstep! Think about it: Dives knew him well enough to know his name, but did nothing to alleviate his suffering. We all know that a name may express the essence of a person—and in revealing our names to others we become accessible by inviting this intimacy. By our names we are known—and by our names we are called! Dives knew Lazarus’ name—yet was so self-absorbed he did not help him.
St. Paul says it clearly in his Letter to Timothy: “But you, man of God, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith. Lay hold of eternal life to which you were called…” What (or who) will convert the world to justice and to the Kingdom on earth? We will. We know that the lowly will be lifted up and the mighty put down from their thrones (that was the Blessed Virgin Mary’s song). We will accomplish this with the grace and help of God and each other. I guess the question is: Will God know your name at the final judgment? The answer is obvious: He will know you (and your name) by your works in faith and by your life lived according to the Gospel. Food for thought…