A Parable for Today

Alligators, Brevard Zoo c. J. P. Mahon, 2013

Alligators, Brevard Zoo
c. J. P. Mahon, 2013

[As we face yet another showdown over budget priorities, we realize that budgets are moral documents. Here is a parable on the eve of sequestration. Let those who have ears to hear hear!]

Jesus said to the politicians in Washington:
“There were rich and powerful people who dressed in silk suits and fine linen
and they dined sumptuously each day in the Capitol cafeteria and at the finest restaurants in the Washington area.And begging on the steps of the Capitol was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich politicians’ tables. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.When the poor man died, he was warmly welcomed by St. Peter at heaven’s gate.

At the same time one of the rich and powerful politicians died and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw St. Peter far off
and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, ‘Saint Peter, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
St. Peter replied, ‘My child, remember the wealth you amassed during your lifetime and how you protected the rich cronies who elected you while Lazarus did not have enough to eat; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’

He said, ‘Then I beg you, St. Peter, send him to the halls of Congress and the White House and Supreme Court, so that he may warn all these people,
lest they too reap the outcomes of their indifference to the least among them and end up in this place of torment.’

But St. Peter replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Many of them claim to be Christians but know not the teachings of Jesus About the dangers of riches and power. Let them listen to them.’

He said, ‘Oh no, St. Peter, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
Then St. Peter said,
‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets and Jesus,
neither will they be persuaded
if someone should rise from the dead.’“


Blessed are the just who trust in God,
whose hope is the God.
They are like trees planted beside the waters
that stretches out their roots to the stream:
They fears not the heat when it comes,
their leaves stay green;
In the year of drought it shows no distress,
but still bear fruit.

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