Today’s Gospel can be guilt-inducing. I have willingly stepped over the Lazarus lying on my doorstep more often than I’d like to admit. The sorrowful regret for that unwillingness to see the poor in my midst can be crippling. But Jesus does not tell us this story to make us feel bad. Rather, he wants us to see ourselves in both the rich man and Lazarus.

Sr. Raphael Considine, PBVM, wrote, “The heart in touch with its own poverty learns to recognize the faces of the poor.” We are all deeply in need, hungering for something out of reach, destitute of love or faith or truth. When we see what is lacking within us, we recognize that it is our poverty that makes us human, and it is our poverty that unites us.

When we deny our incompleteness, we miss seeing Christ within and among us. For God was so humble as to adopt the poverty of being human. Are we humble enough to recognize and love the poverty that makes us human, the poverty that God so loves?

—Rachel Fitzgibbon serves as Retreat Coordinator at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House, Barrington IL.