9/25/2022 (Sunday) Today’s gospel reading: 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.’”
9/25/2022 (Sunday) Today’s gospel reflection: Luke 16:19-31
The beatitudes as found in Matthew 5:3–12 and in Luke Luke 6:20–22, the people we normally consider as unfortunate today are proclaimed by Jesus Himself as blessed. Incidentally, the first beatitude in both gospels concerns the blessedness of the poor! Previously, in Luke 1:51–53, Mary in her famous Magnificat, proclaims that the proud will be brought low, and the humble will be lifted up; the hungry will be fed, and the rich will be sent away empty. Even the Old Testament is filled with stories that shows God has blessed the poor and lifted them up. Psalm 34, for example, says that God hears the cry of the poor.
We have often repeated in our gospel reflections that one very important aspect of Jesus’ mission is to seek and comfort the lost, the least, and the last. That is why the poor and other marginalized people in society take center stage in the words and actions of Jesus. His very first proclamation was that He was anointed to bring good news to the poor (Luke 4;18). He has often made clear that these “unfortunate” members of today’s society are actually marching ahead of the “fortunate” into the Kingdom of God. Recall the Parable of the Great Banquet in Luke 14.
So what lesson can we get from the story of the rich man and Lazarus? First, life can be reversed. What we are now may not be what we will be in the future or in the next life. In fact, this story tells us that there is indeed life after death. We will all soon pass away and everyone will be judged accordingly. Second, money by itself has nothing to do with eternal life. We must take note that the gospel reading above was directed to the Pharisees and other religious leaders of that time. It was a kind of rebuke to them who are “lovers of money” (Luke 16:14). Third, there is hope for the poor and Jesus is calling us to share what we have most especially with them. The gospel passage above is very clear that the rich man’s fault was his lack of compassion for poor Lazarus.