Sunday 25 September 2016

The rich man and Lazarus

The rich man and Lazarus. Gospel of Sunday 26 Ordinary Time.

Maraccani gave some wonderful thoughts during the homily.

The leaflet begins with the observation that we talk very little about Paradise and Hell nowadays, but that Jesus did not hesitate to talk about these: there is reward and punishment for what we do or fail to do.

The alternative Collect points out well that we are dealing with one of the few parables in which a person is named. The one named is the poor man, Lazarus. (Perhaps Jesus was thinking of his friend Lazarus.) The rich man instead is not named - he is one among many who are rich and indifferent. His crime is not one of commission but of omission. He is indifferent to the poor man lying at his door, eating from the scraps thrown to him, consoled only by the dogs.

God puts himself on the side of the poor. There is here the beatitude of poverty: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. The poor man is consoled in the next life. St Bernard: if you are praying and a poor man knocks on your door, leave your prayer and answer the door, for God is there waiting for you.

Interesting that the rich man calls Abraham "father". Abraham is father to both Lazarus and the rich man. So they belong to one family; but this the rich man realizes only in his torment. The whole theme here of God our Father, and the one family under God. That is why indifference is so terrible: I ignore the truth of God and the truth of our humanity. I ignore that God is Communion-Love.

Interesting also that Lazarus is seated in "the bosom of Abraham."

The deepest connection between love of God and love of neighbour. The grace of unity. There cannot be one without the other. Jesus is clear on the point.

"They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them." Moses and the prophets: the Law and the Prophets. The word of God, in other words. We are invited to listen to the Word. If we do not, even if someone were to rise from the dead - Jesus - we would not believe. Listening to the Word - propaedeutic to believing in the Resurrection.

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