26th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C - 25/9/2022 - Gospel: Luke 16:19-31
Fortunate Life
Richness is the sign of God's blessing for those who include others in the well of their wealth. Poverty is not the absence of happiness, because reality shows that happiness doesn't depend on wealth, but rather on the contentment of a heart. Wealth contributes to the comfort of life but also causes much angst for those who heavily invest their wealth in shares caused by the fluctuation of the Stock Exchanged.

The parable of the rich man and the poor reminds us how to use wealth wisely, because the way in which we use wealth will decide the outcome of our eternal life. The rich man in the parable has no name, but the poor is named Lazarus. Both men died, and each head in the opposite direction. The poor Lazarus is blessed with everlasting happiness, while the rich is condemned to endless pain in hell. It is a bit too late for the rich man to realize how wrong he was in using his wealth. In his tormented, he made two requests, and both the requests were denied by Abraham, our Father of faith. His first request was to ask poor Lazarus to quench his thirst by giving him some water. Abraham replied that Lazarus was not allowed to cross the gulf that separated them. The rich man then sought permission to return home to warn his five brothers to change their way of life. Abraham replied that it was not his job, but of Moses and the prophets. The rich man probably has experienced powerlessness for the very first time, unable to do what he would like to do.

Reality showed that Abraham was right in saying

'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' Lk 16,31.

We believe Jesus rose from death and had appeared to both the apostles and Mary and many more, and yet people refused to believe in Jesus. Jesus' mother, Mary, appeared at different times, and at different locations, such as Fatima and Lourdes, calling people to repent, and many ignored her call. Apart from Jesus and Mary, countless holy men and women perform miracles that are beyond scientific explanation, and yet many continue to see the Christian Scripture as a historical book on the life of Christ.

The parable condones that there is eternal life after this earthly life, and that our actions related to human life has a long term effect both in this life and the life to come. Eternal agony or comfort depends very much on how we treat others with love in this life. This is the prophecy of Mary in her Magnificat when she says:

'The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away' Lk 1,53.

The rich man was beautiful in his appearance, wearing fine linen and feasting magnificently, but his inner life was neglected. He has no love, no sympathy, no compassion for the destitute in front of his castle. No one can deny the reality of life and death, of joy and suffering, of life and eternal life, they are all the realities of life. We take chances in life but not in death; once we cross the eternal horizon there is no more change, our fate is fixed and decided based on how we share our lives with others. The parable calls us to believe in God and loves what God loves. Because Jesus identifies himself to the poor, and when we show our love to the unloved we do it for Christ himself (Mt 25,35-40) God loves the poor and so we his followers. Eternal life or death is not a payment for what one goes through on earth. The rich man was punished not because he was rich, but rather, because he refused to heed the teaching of Moses and the prophets. The five brothers that are left behind maybe you and me.
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