The Gospel for Sunday coming, the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, continues to explore themes that were to the fore in last week’s Liturgy of the Word also: Christian responsibility, justice, love …
Jesus said to the Pharisees, ‘There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day. And at his gate there lay a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to fill himself with the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even came and licked his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. ‘In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus in his bosom. So he cried out, “Father Abraham, pity 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.” “My son,” Abraham replied “remember that during your life good things came your way, just as bad things came the way of Lazarus. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony. But that is not all: between us and you a great gulf has been fixed, to stop anyone, if he wanted to, crossing from our side to yours, and to stop any crossing from your side to ours.”
‘The rich man replied, “Father, I beg you then to send Lazarus to my father’s house, since I have five brothers, to give them warning so that they do not come to this place of torment too.” “They have Moses and the prophets,” said Abraham “let them listen to them..” “Ah no, father Abraham,” said the rich man “but if someone comes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Then Abraham said to him, “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.”’
The rich man does show compassion – for his own kind, and after he has sharply been confronted with the consequences of his lack of charity for the poor man, Lazarus. But it is too late.
Death bed conversions may have their place, but this man seeks to convert afterwards! In the world of the parable – at any rate – that is too late.
‘The future starts today, not tomorrow,’ Saint Pope John Paul II is reputed to have said.
And it is to our today that the parable now speaks.
- Where does it touch your life and your concerns?
- How does it comfort?
- How does it challenge?
Veronica wipes the face of Jesus. From Stations of the Cross at Bishop Walsh Catholic School. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.