September 25, Sunday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time
Daily Readings: Am 6:1a, 4–7 • Ps 146:7, 8–9, 9–10 • 1 Tm 6:11–16 • Lk 16:19–31
The Rich Man and Lazarus is a parable of startling contrasts, but its central message is simple: love your neighbour. This story also reminds us of the huge inequality among people in Jesus’ time and even today. It is not about the virtuous life on the part of Lazarus, nor of bad life lived by the rich man. But it is all about the latter closing his eyes against the needy one at his gate. Without attention to the needy around us, our lives become self-centred and callous.
This parable is addressed to the religious leaders of the time. But it applies to each one of us, especially those who have been blessed with privilege, money, talent, education, etc. There is nothing wrong with being rich. How we use our riches is what matters eternally. We have an obligation as Christians to feed the hungry. Every hungry person in the world stands as a challenge to our conscience. While we did not create the problem, we can be part of the solution. Our hearts go out to the millions of old and young in the world just because they are hungry like Lazarus, who was at the rich man’s gate. Allow some prayer today to enlarge your compassion for the hungry and your desire to do what you can to feed them. For in feeding them, we feed Jesus.
The name Lazar means El-azar, ’God has helped.’ He is the only person with a name in Jesus’ parables; This is a reminder to us that no poor person is invisible to God. Each needy person is known to God by name and loved by God.
It is not that the rich man did not believe. He ended up in the place of torment because of the way he treated others. As we read in the letter of St James (2:14-17), “What good is it, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.’”
This is an invitation to open our eyes to what is around us and to open our ears to the simple command of the Gospel: love your neighbour. All, whether rich or poor, must die. “When we look at the wise, they die…and leave their wealth to others” (Psalm 49:10). Death is inevitable for us all, and there is no escape from it. We prepare our future dwelling place now by charity and patient endurance.
Today, we have millions of Lazarus, lying hungry, deprived, dispossessed, and exploited at our gates. We are uncomfortably aware of them and their needs. Yet, like the rich man in the parable, we ignore them. We have no excuse. Let us make use of every opportunity to do good to those who are in need.
When is the last time that I helped my neighbour who is in need?
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.