I am sure it will not be too difficult for us to imagine what a rich man is like and what a poor is like. And I am sure we ourselves have seen the great disparity between the rich and the poor. Today, Jesus talks about the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31.
19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family,28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:19-31 New International Version (NIV)
This parable intends to show us the pain that God feels when He sees His children being reduced to begging and longing in vain for scraps that fall from the table of the rich. But for all the injustice that the poor suffers, they will be vindicated by being brought to the bosom of Abraham – they will be comforted. And for us who are rather comfortable and having it quite easy, let us not be like the man who is described in Jeremiah 17:5-10 as one who relies on things of the flesh and whose heart turns from the Lord, and if good comes he has no eyes for it.
Let us remember that the poor are also our brothers and sisters and it is our duty to help them. When we understand that we are stewards who should look after the weak and poor members of our community and society and act on it, the Lord who knows our hearts will give each of us what our conduct and action deserves.
Peace and Joy
Written by Rev. Fr. Courage Dogbey