The story of the rich man who had no name, and the poor man, named Lazarus, seems to suggest, that life after death is the reversal of the present life. The rich became poor, and the poor became rich. Life after death is not just simply the reversal of the present life style each individual took, but it was also the reversal of the meaning of wealth as well. Rich and poor in eternal life has nothing to do with the material world as we understand it, but it is much to do with God's love and mercy, which is permanent and nothing can take away. Having material riches can be understood as a sign of God's blessing. It is not the blessings that one is being judged on after death, but rather it is the way of using the blessings entrusted to us in our present life. We need to remember that we are only the stewards of God's gifts. This recognition helps us to know, that what we own is not for our interests only, but we need to share our goods with others. Those who help others, help Jesus himself as we hear from The Beatitudes (Mat 5) and the Last Judgement (Mat 25,31-46). Those who help others will enrich themselves both in the eyes of the world, and more importantly in the eyes of God.
The parable gave a contrast of the life styles of the two men. The rich man wore beautiful clothes and feasted lavishly; while the poor man was covered with sores and went to bed with an empty stomach, and was a friend of dogs. After their deaths, Lazarus was God's friend and the rich man was in Hades. In his agony the rich man made two requests. First he asked Abraham for help but Abraham told him that it was too late to change his fate. His second request was relating to his relatives who enjoyed the same life style as his, but Abraham told him that it was none of his business, but of the living. His relatives should listen to God's faithful witnesses.
The parable certainly made clear that individuals will be rewarded according to how they had treated others in this present life. The heart of Jesus' message focussed at the poor and the marginalized. Jesus' mission, and also ours, was to befriend of the poor.
The spirit of the Lord has been given to me to bring the good news to the poor Is. 61,1-2
Being rich in this world may not be rich in God's eyes, unless the wealth one owns is utilised to ease the burden of life for others, who don't have a decent place to lay their heads, and who don't have clean water to drink. We all know that wealth gives comfort to life but it won't guarantee that wealth and happiness go hand in hand, and yet the temptation to accumulate wealth for life security is not an easy task to break. It is much easier to fall into complacency on wealth and ignore God's voice calling us to return to God's way.
The poor man Lazarus abode right outside the gate of the rich man, and he had received not even the leftover food from that castle. He probably died of hunger after losing to inhumanity. Lazarus turned his hope to God, trusting that one day God would satisfy his longing, and he was right. God has rewarded him in eternal life with abundant blessings.
Our mantra this week is that: Jesus became poor so that we might become rich in Him 2 Cor. 8,9.