Amos 6:1a, 4-7; 1Tim 6:11-16; Luke 16:19-31
There was a story of a man who was a ‘relihiyoso’ (religious) and ’diosnon’ (godly). After he attended the Mass, he found a wallet containing cash. He went to the parish priest and asked some advises on what to do with the money. The priest advised and said to him: “Give it to the owner himself.”
So he went to the street and shouted like this: “Who owns this money!” He did it for several times but nobody answered. Actually, he did not shout, he just whispered and only himself could hear it.
He went to the parish priest and reported what he did. The priest said to him: “Ok, divide it into four and give each share to the poor, to an organization who helps the poor, to the Catholic Women’s League and the other one to yourself. So, he divided it into four and started the distribution of the sharing. The first share, as what the parish priest told him to do, gave it to him. The second, supposed to be would be given to the poor, but he had this weird idea that he was a poor, so instead, he gave it to himself again.
The third share, supposed to be would be given to the Catholic Women’s League, but then according to him that his mother is a member of this recognized church organization, so the third share went to him again because he represented his mother. The last share that would be given to an organization that helps the poor and remembered that his brother is a member of this, so he took the money for himself. Practically, all the money went to him.
My dear brothers and sisters, today’s gospel tells us about the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. This rich man has no difficulty in having a National Bureau of Investigation or police clearance or to receive a certificate of good moral character and conduct without any reservation. He can receive recognition from his neighbors as honorable and respectable man .He had a clean record and he could claim to be a model citizen and God-fearing man.
He lived luxuriously. He feasted everyday inviting his friends while he did not mind Lazarus, the beggar who longed to eat the left over that fell from the rich man’s table, and even did not try to invite Lazarus into his banquet.
When both of them died, Lazarus went to heaven not because he is a poor man or that God likes poverty as an entrance to heaven, not at all. The rich man went to hell? Why? What are his sins?
Jesus does not teach us that owning a wealth is bad so we have to disregard it. God creates this wealth, therefore, this is good. But let us see to it that if we have plenty of wealth, it means, God blesses us, no it is not that way. Rather, God is just so merciful to us and to you. He trusts you, those who have plenty of wealth to help uplift the situation of the poor.
What is the sin of the rich man? He did not order his men that Lazarus be removed from the gate of his house. He did not make any objection to his receiving the leftover that fell from his table. He did not kick him. He was not cruel with him. He is too well mannered. The sin of the rich man was that he never noticed Lazarus who represents a fact of life: the poor, the sick, and the unfortunate who are always around us. He did no wrong, but he did nothing. In the Catholic teaching, that is the sin of omission (not doing what is supposed to do).
The rich man omitted and failed to do well he was he was supposed to do to his neighbor in need. We too easily excuse sins of omission by claiming we do not do anything wrong. That’s the problem with us we do not do anything.
Today we have so many Lazarus that roaming around in this world – billions of them and we are challenged to share and help them of what we have. Sometimes in the 1990s, the United Nations published a statistics that we have $37 billion supplies of food throughout the whole world. We have only more or less almost 6 billion people. So we have so much food. But one third of the total world population is homeless and without food; 500 million are malnourished; 14,000 died everyday because they eat nothing. Why, why this happen this way? Is this the will of God?
The sin of the rich man could be our sin too if we will not lift a finger to help all the Lazarus around us. Sometimes we become blind or amnesia when one personal interest reigns. We will help not only those who are materially poor but also those who are spiritually poor. As Mother Theresa said: “”They don’t have food but love…they are homeless not because they don’t have homes but because they are rejected.”
To end this sharing of mind, let us reflect these words from the song entitled Heal The Word: “Heal the world and make it a better place, for you and for me and the entire human race. There are people dying. If we care enough for their living, make a better place for you and for me.”
See Today’s Readings: Cycle C