Grace to you!
The story of the rich man also called Dives, and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) is one of the famous stories in the Bible. By the way, Dives isn't the name of the man. It is, instead, a Latin word for "rich."
To summarize the story: It's about a wealthy man who neglected taking care of Lazarus, a poor, street beggar covered with sores, who lay in front of his gate. Both died, the rich man went to hell and the beggar to heaven.
What was the strength of Lazarus, and what was the sin of the rich man? Lazarus had faith in divine providence, though he was miserably poor. The meaning of his name, "God is my helper," should strike a chord. He embodies anyone who puts their trust in God and not in people. The Prophecy of Jeremiah 17:5-6 writes about how disappointing and barren it is to put one's faith in people and not in God.
Aren't we many times disappointed because we trusted someone, and that person never showed up at our moment of need? Heartbreaking, isn't it? Absolute trust in people isn't good for us. It doesn't suggest faith in God either. So, the strength of Lazarus, despite being a poor man, was faith—this faith won him eternity.
Dives, on the other hand, is condemned in the story, not because he stole, defrauded, cheated, or killed. Scripture doesn't reflect he was guilty of any of these crimes. There were no suggestions he committed any of the known crimes or sins. Instead, his major sin was indifference to the poor closer to home. While he lived in luxury and was self-indulgent, a poor person was dying of hunger and poor health right in his very presence. He didn't seem to notice.
I know some may say, as I hear it said all the time, "I made my money. It is my money and I have the right to use it the way I want."
Surely it's your money, and you have the right to use it the way you wish. However, remember we are blessed so we can bless others. Isn't it God’s plan for blessing us?
It is a truth we must think about all the time. As Jose Maria Escriva always said, "Christ is passing by," and you will uniquely see him among the poor and the needy. You and I are called and required to bless others with our blessings. It is s a consistent social teaching of the Church that though the right of ownership of the money we made is private, the use of it has radical social implications.
Lent is a time to notice the needy in our midst and to bless others.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Thursday, Lenten Weekday, Week 2: Jer. 17:5-10; Lk. 16: 19-31]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.