Luke 16: 19-31
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.
In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony.
Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’
He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
This parable from the Gospel of Luke invites us to reflection. On the surface, the Gospel may seem to condemn the wealthy but, as Pope Benedict XVI states in his book Jesus of Nazareth, “This has nothing to do with a cheap condemnation of riches and of the rich begotten of envy.” Jesus is teaching us something much more profound here, calling each and every person to action, not just the wealthy. Jesus is inviting us to a sort of “awakening,” that which the rich man attains here only after he dies, while Lazarus attained it during life.
“The Lord wants to lead us from foolish cleverness toward true wisdom; he wants to teach us to discern the real good,” as Pope Benedict XVI continues to say. This call to discernment is for each one of us. We are called by Christ to come to know Jesus himself and to both hear and answer the call of Christ in our life. We are also called to love and be Christ for one another. Let us pray for the grace to understand the workings of the Spirit in our lives and answer that call to holiness.
“Do not be afraid to be holy!”
—Blessed John Paul II
—Jack Lupica is a senior at Saint Ignatius High School, Cleveland, OH.
The Risen Christ is with us this day, and he continues to need each one of you. Jesus needs your eyes to continue to see. He needs your strength to continue to work. He needs your voice to continue to preach. He needs your heart to continue to love. And Jesus needs your whole being to continue to build up his body, the Church. As we believe, so let us live!
—Cardinal Joseph Bernardin