Grace to you!
The story of the rich man, also called Dives, and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) is one of the popular stories in the bible. By the way, Dives isn’t the name of the man; it is, rather, 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, even though he was miserably poor. The meaning of his name, “God is my helper,” should strike a chord. Like in the prophecy of Jeremiah 17:5, his trust was in God because in human beings, like Dives, he would suffer disappointments, as he did.
Aren’t we many times disappointed because we trusted in 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. Actually, 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. In fact, 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 the 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?
This is a truth we should think about all the time. As Jose Maria Escriva always said, “Christ is passing by” and you will see him in a special way among the poor and the needy.
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]
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.