The Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man
By: Katie Kearns
In today’s Gospel, Lazarus, the suffering poor man dies and goes to the comfort of heaven, but the rich man is not that lucky. The rich man thought he had time to change things, but life doesn’t work out the way he wants.
It seems to me, that most people feel like life doesn’t work out the way they want and they are surprised by what happens. As the first reading states, “Woe to the complacent.”
My father started having issues with his memory when I was twenty years old. He had been hiding the fact that he had been having problems for a while. Like Lazarus, he suffered. He once asked me, “What street do I turn on to get home?”
He needed to turn on Garfield. We had lived on Garfield for almost twenty years. Dad lost his ability to remember that he had children. He even lost his name. He couldn’t remember it. However, one thing he did not lose was the Our Father. When he lost his name and our church’s deacon asked him to recite the Our Father, he could do it. It was such an integral part of his brain, Alzheimer’s could not take it away. Hence, while he suffered, he still had faith so I know he was ‘carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.’
Many people think Alzheimer’s and dementia patients don’t know they are losing their memories. This isn’t true. The day after my father entered a nursing home we were watching TV when an ad for a nursing home came on. My father told me, “I am going to have to go to one of those places soon. I am not right.”
Alzheimer’s steals memories. However, like the rich man in the Gospel, people think they will have enough time to do what they want, tell everyone what needs to be said, but Dementia and Alzheimer’s can take all this away. Then, like the rich man you are suffering in torment.
Why should we all care about this disease? Well, one in nine currently have it. By 2050 experts predict the number of people with the disease will nearly triple. Yes, triple. That means as many as 16 million people will lose their memories.
My consolation is that like Lazarus, my father is no longer suffering. He is at Abraham’s side and he remembers. He remembers his name, his children, and Our Father.
Katie Kearns is the Coordinator of Liturgy ay Old Saint Patrick’s Church. She is not in church today as she is participating in the Alzheimer’s fundraising walk. She has been participating in the walk since 1991. For more information on Alzheimer’s and Dementia contact The Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org.