A reading from the gospel according to Luke 16:19-31
Jesus said to the Pharisees:
19 “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day.
20 And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
21 who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
22 When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried,
23 and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.
24 And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, 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.’
25 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.
26 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.’
27 He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house,
28 for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’
29 But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’
30 He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
31 Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’”
Reflection: Share now or never
Jesus did not name the rich man in the gospel story most probably because He is referring to everyone who has something to share but refuses to do it. The man was enjoying a sumptuous meal and he knew Lazarus was there but sharing was not in his vocabulary. On the other hand, there was Lazarus who represents the needy of the world who are happy eating scraps that fall from rich men’s tables.
When our temporary stay on this planet ends, we go to the other world where life does not end. From the story, the rich man went to hell where he was tormented day in and day out while Lazarus was sent to heaven where he was comforted at the bosom of Abraham. Observe that even in hell, the rich has not changed at all. He wanted Lazarus to serve him without any remorse on his part. On a positive note, he is concerned about his family he left behind. He wanted them to be warned of hell.
There are several lessons that we can learn from the gospel reading above.
1. There are two kinds of sin: the sin of commission and the sin of omission. The rich man was not a criminal but he failed to do something with moral implication that is, sharing his treasure and treating others with compassion.
2. Regret always comes last. Whatever good we need today, let’s do it now for tomorrow may not come.
3. There is hope for those who suffer or neglected today. God looks at them with merciful eyes. Their suffering is temporary. They will be comforted in heaven for all eternity.
4. Don’t wait for someone to rise from the dead to testify that indeed there is life after death. Just do good because it is the right thing. Let us not exchange our pleasure today for eternal torment.
5. We don’t bring our wealth or possessions to the next world. Share it now. “If we can care and share enough, no one would gonna be sad”, goes the lyrics of a song.