Now Is the Time to Build Bridges

I have to confess something: I’m not that great at cooking. I can say that I can fend for myself in the kitchen, but it’s probably better to say that I fend off the kitchen.

But I think I have a good reason: in the last 17 years I’ve lived in over 25 different locations. I live a life on the go.

Some years ago I lived a few months in a newly built house just outside a pueblo here in Ecuador. It was freshly made of cement, with a bedroom, a living room, and a kitchen. It had two things: an oven and a bed. I spent a lot more time in the bed than with the oven.

Next door to me, in a small house made of wood, was a family of 13. A grandmother, 5 children. Three daughters had deforming disabilities. One had 2 children, and another had one. There was one brother who was 18 and in decimo, for having taken time off to help with the family. The other daughter had 4 children, and had epilepsy attacks. The grandmother was out of work, and so this daughter was the only person in the house working, helping in a tienda.

One day a I was heading out, the grandmother asked if she might borrow $10. I said sure. A day or two later, I was thinking of them, and bought a whole rotisserie chicken on my way back in the evening. I gave it to the kids, who ran into their house, and I went into my house.

I sat down in the only chair, and I remembered that I hadn’t eaten, and hadn’t brought anything back. I looked over at the stove and shook my head. As I sat there, I thought, “I sure hope that they invite over to eat.” Not a minute later, I heard little footsteps and then a three knocks on the door. “Hello?” “Jeronimo, my grandmother says, Come over to eat!”

So I went over and had dinner with the family in their house: some rice and coca-cola, and the chicken I had brought over, between all 14 of us.

And that was the first of many days I would drop off some food, and then I would get a knock on the door, “Jeronimo, come over to eat!”

And when I had a housewarming party, they were over dancing til the early hours of the morning. We are still in contact to this day.

In the Gospel Lazarus is lying at the door of the rich man, and the word in Greek really means that God has placed him at the door. And the problem is that the rich man never helped him, he chose his possessions over having a relationship with Lazarus. He never built a bridge. And so there was a chasm in the relationship. And the chasm stayed there forever. That’s what happens when we die: there’s no more opportunity to change our relationships. The condition of our relationships remains forever.

We don’t know how long we have to live. Don’t wait. Now is the time to build bridges in our lives. If there is a gully in a relationship in your life, don’t wait. Now is the time to start building the bridge.

And when you’re in your greatest need, there will be a bridge over the chasm.

And you’ll get a knock on your door, and your name will be called:

Come, and eat.

“Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; 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.’” (Lk 16:25-26)

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