THE PARABLE OF THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS
(Biblical reflection on the 26th Ordinary Sunday [Year C] – 25 September 2016)
Gospel Reading: Luke 16:19-31
First Reading: Amos 6:1,4-7; Psalms: Psalm 146:7-10; Second Reading: 1Timothy 6:11-16
“There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man name Lazarus, full of sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that you in your life-time received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you many not be able, and none may cross from there to us. And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment. But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.’” (Luke 16:19-31 RSV)
Jesus in the Gospel today hits upon the tension that exists between the rich and the poor in the world. He is quite obviously siding with the poor. We can be sure Jesus would still speak in the same way today. Maybe a different story, but the same message.
There is too large a gap between rich and poor. We are all God’s children, we are sisters and brothers of each other in His family. We just cannot tolerate the present injustices where brother exploits brother and leaves him destitute.
Jesus is challenging us to gospel living. Are we witnesses, true witnesses to His teachings or not?
Remember, the poor are always with us. Every time that we see or hear of someone poorer than ourselves whom we could help and don’t, Christ is present; He is in our midst. If we don’t reach out our hand of love, He goes on His way hungry and thirsty and naked. We probably won’t be hearing trumpets blasting or a lot of angels flying around, but the judgment has taken place just the same. We’ve failed the test.
So where is Jesus really present among us? In the Eucharist, surely; in His Word, just as truly. But what about the no less real presence of Christ Jesus in all those Lazaruses we meet up with? In the Eucharist Christ is present in the Bread. In the poor He is present just as much in the absence of bread.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, You provide us with a multitude of people who cross our path, whom we can reach in some way every day, with whom we can share the time and love You give us. You provide us with moments when You seem particularly near, and we can enjoy passing time with You. You provide us with crosses to bear, a yoke that is sweet. Thank you Father. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Jakarta, 21 September 2016 [Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist]
A Christian Pilgrim