TWENTY-SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME SEPTEMBER 29, 2019
A reading from the holy Gospel according to 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: 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.'
Lazarus was someone's child. Someone once loved Lazarus. He had once loved someone. Now he had nothing and found himself begging at the door of the rich man. Note that the rich man has no name in this story. He could have been called Mr Pride or Mr Selfish as the story shows him a man impervious to the needs of this beggar. In fact, we are led to believe that the rich man might not be aware of him.
Yet, when he died and found himself in torment and in the Netherland, he recognized Lazarus and called him by name. How did he know him? Why would he know his name? There are so many people alone and without hope in our nursing homes, hospitals, psychiatric wards and in the streets. They are discarded and are thought upon when there is a food or clothing drive.
We are told by Jesus to love one another as He has loved us. And as Saint Mother Teresa reminds us, " Love, in order to survive, must be nourished by sacrifices, especially the sacrifice of self." "Each of us is merely a small instrument: all of us, after accomplishing our mission, will disappear." But where will we disappear--to everlasting life with God or to the Netherland?