February 28, 2013

The Gospel Today

Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent

Lk 16: 19-31

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
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.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
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.’
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.’
He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him
to my father’s house,
for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.’
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.’
He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
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 (Sem. Jorge A. Santiago, Jr.)

The Gospel for today speaks about the story of Lazarus and the rich man who both eventually died and were judged differently; Lazarus found consolation in the bosom of Abraham, while the rich man found himself in torment in Hades. Reflecting on the situation of the rich man, questions came out of my mind: was the rich man condemned because he was rich? Was he condemned because he was feasting everyday? Was he condemned because he dressed elegantly? Of course not, the rich man was condemned because, obviously, he did not pay attention to the poor man, he failed to take notice of Lazarus, the one who was at his gate wanting the scraps from his table.

It is saddening that I often here people saying ‘Money is the root of all evil.’ They believe that money is indeed the cause of trouble for everyone. But we have to remember that everything God has made is beautiful and is good, that includes money. Money is beautifully created so that we have something to use for our financial transactions. It is where our economic activities depend upon. The evil then are those who misuse and abuse money, those who ‘worship’ it and those who let themselves be controlled by it.

As a priest-in-process, this is what I have to watch out for. I know myself that I have the tendency to buy things compulsively. I need to constantly discern and ask myself whether the things that I would want to buy are a need or just a want, and whether there is an apostolic value to them. I do not want to abuse the money that I am receiving from my benefactors because I know, that they themselves worked hard for it. In this season of Lent, let us remember that money is a wonderful gift of God, a beautiful creation to be used wisely, and to be shared with those who are in need.

love of ourselves.

 

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