Jesus Christ was rich, but he became poor for your sake, to make you rich out of his poverty.
The parable of Lazarus and the rich man should urge us to seek ways to actively help those in most need. Of the many reasons why we should pay attention to our actions (or lack thereof), the one that perhaps stands out for being the most Christian is expressed by the following words of Jesus: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”. Matthew 25:40. The poor remind us of how Jesus became one of us. He did so to enrich us! Does that not give us sufficient reason to look after one another, particularly these very rich millionaires-to-be who find themselves momentarily stripped of almost all their dignity??
Another theme much less talked about and yet, very clearly stated in this passage, concerns what role the resurrection might have in our conversion. At the end of today’s Gospel, Abraham says: “If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead.” Rising from the dead, if considered as a “miracle”, as some display of Divine Power or Intervention in human history, will never suffice to change us from the inside. It simply cannot give us a new heart. The Mystery of the Resurrection is so much more than a show of God’s Power and it is more essentially tied to the act of listening to the Word of God and to living in Faith, than to the miracle itself! A miracle ‘almost’ takes you outside of faith, since you don’t have to believe when you have the evidence of a dead man rising from the dead…
It is so interesting to see the reasoning of Abraham in this parable. A life of Faith, which consists of the practice of the Lord’s commandments bears a stronger connection with Eternal Life than all of the miracles God could produce for us. Let us pay more attention to the manner in which we have been listening to Jesus as He attempts to speak to us throughout our lives. Make room for His Word and you will know Eternal Life!
We shall be led more deeply into a life of Faith and we will better appreciate these words of Saint Teresa of Calcutta:
“Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and his hand in every happening; This is what it means to be contemplative in the heart of the world. Seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor.” Mother Teresa, In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers
Fr Sean Mary