September 29, 2013

The Gospel Today 

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 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. Edgar R. Calma):

The Gospel invites us to be more sensitive and to develop a genuine concern to the needs of our less fortunate brothers and sisters. The Gospel talks about the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, a man who has everything in this world and Lazarus who has nothing except the optimism that the rich man will somehow be kind to his predicament. But when the two characters died, the condition became totally different. Lazarus was in heaven, witnessing the goodness of creation of God, while the rich man was brought into the netherworld.  I believe that the invitation of the Gospel is really for us to have a genuine concern and a serious understanding and evaluation of how do we care for our less fortunate brothers and sisters. The measure is very clear in the Gospel when Abraham told Lazarus:  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.  It is an invitation for us to really be discerning with the worldly materials and inclination we would acquire and obtain along the way. But I think what is more challenging is to have the heart and compassion in helping alleviate the poor condition of our less fortunate brothers and sisters. This can be achieved when we know how to understand and relate with their own experiences. Being rich is not the real issue here, what is important to consider is the kind of attitude the rich man has towards Lazarus.  The lack of concern, insensitivity and indifference towards the condition of Lazarus are manifestations of selfishness and self-centeredness.  It is a condition of too much emphasis in one’s self and God is no longer needed in this life.   A good question to ask ourselves is how do I see and relate to my neighbour with the same situation as Lazarus.  The invitation of the Gospel parable is to really have a genuine motivation in extending help to address the needs of our less fortunate brothers and sisters. We should become men and women for others, regardless of our condition and status in life. Being charitable, loving and compassionate transcends economic status. Because our life will reflect who we are and how we have become true witnesses and disciples of Christ here on earth.

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