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RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

26TH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME

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Our gospel story for this Sunday tells us about two people, a rich man and a poor man. The first detail we have concerns the rich man’s wardrobe: he dresses in purple and fine linen, an outfit which was similar to that worn by the high priest. He feasts magnificently – not once a week, but every day – a figure of massive self-indulgence. The rich man is wealthy in clothes and food; he is also rich in privilege and  freedom he is free from the worry that besets those who are poor even though he was poorer than the poorest man because of the way he lived his life. You can imagine Lazarus praying: “Give us this day our daily bread.” But he didn’t get  a crumb. You cannot imagine the rich man praying, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Because the privilege he has hides his responsibilities from him; it blinds him to the man who lies at his own gate.

The poor man is of course Lazarus who is covered in sores. Lying at the gate of the house, Lazarus can see the traffic that is heading for the rich man’s table. Both men eventually died as all of us will. Lazarus went straight to heaven to a state of endless happiness. His bodily sufferings have ended forever, he will never be in want again. On the other hand the rich man fares very differently. His enjoyments are over. He is now in torments of Hades and he is told that he can expect no relief. Abraham tells him why he is in his present state: he abused his time on earth he acted as though there would be no judgment day of course there was and he sees the truth of this. He knows that he has no one to blame but himself which adds to his torment. It is also a cause of additional grief to him that his bad example will lead his brothers that is his fellowmen to a similar fate.

All the parables of our Lord are based on everyday happenings. While we hope and pray that the case of the rich man described here is not an everyday occurrence, there is no doubt that such cases have happened and will happen again. This rich man is not in eternal torments because he was rich and even very rich. He is in eternal torment because he let his wealth become his master and forgot God and his neighbor and his own real welfare that is eternal life. There are people like the rich man in our world today, men and women young and old who completely ignore their real future. While they know that their stay on this earth is of very short duration and that they will have to leave it they still act and live as if they had a permanent home here. There is a lovely scripture verse that tells us that when the tent of our earthly dwelling is folded up we will come to our true home in heaven and this is so true.

For all of us today there is a simple question are we going to be like the rich man and ignore those around us who are the Lazarus’s of our own world. The rich man did nothing to Lazarus, but he was not innocent. There are times when our lack of action is our crime think of how we react to The homeless, the refugees or those who don’t have enough daily bread. All of them all worthy of our thoughts our prayers and our resources. Christ, shared his riches with everyone we should do the same and not be like the so called rich man in the gospel story!!!

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