Soul Food for Young Adult Communities: Sept. 29th 2013, 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Gospel: Luke 16:19-31 (Reflection by Sarah Kelly, a young adult).
The Gospel we read today is quite tricky. Not for obvious reasons though. The first time I read it, I thought that this Gospel is clearly about the divide between the rich and the poor. And yes, it predicts a harrowing scenario of what actually happens in our world. The poor are quite often invisible to the rich, and yet the rich are always obvious to the poor.
How many times have you looked down on someone because they weren’t as good, or as successful as you? We all do it. In the case of Lazarus, it happened as he lay unnoticed at the gate of the rich man. The juxtaposition between rich and poor is obvious here, since the rich man “feasted sumptuously every day”, and yet Lazarus “longed to satisfy his hunger”. We might say that both received their just rewards. Lazarus went to heaven and there he is comforted. Whereas the rich man had his good times on earth, and yet he is in the other place, here called Hades.
And so, it is here I pose the question. Which one are you? Are you satisfied in your life? Or, are you hungry? Think carefully about that. Do you feel an emptiness within you? You might think that you are like the rich man, affluent and content, but at the end of the day, do you sense something is missing? Do you wander in a “kind of” hades? And yet the poor man, having longed to satisfy his hunger is satisfied. How did this happen? It may appear to us from the outside that the poor man is really as destitute as he sounds, but who is he to you?
Today’s Gospel also tells us another story. It tells us a little something about Jesus. Now, Jesus was excellent in telling his disciples, and others, stories about life, and sometimes about what lay ahead of him, in ways that left them thinking. These are called parables. This Gospel, though quite terrifying in one sense, is reassuring in the other. In this case, Jesus is Lazarus. Despised and rejected by the world, and yet, He is right outside our gates, waiting for us. What is quite poignant is the rich man’s final plea, in which he names Lazarus and requests that he go and inform his brothers. Never before in this particular Gospel passage did we hear of any recognition of Lazarus by the rich man. But when he is down on his luck, he can finally see the one he rejected. Abraham responds that Moses and the prophets have already warned them. It is now that we can see the mirror between this passage and that of the death and resurrection of Jesus when Abraham says “if they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”
So dear friends, I leave you with this thought for the day, Which one are you? God bless, Sarah.