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Reflection On The Sunday Gospel Luke 16: 19-31 By Fr. Isidore Clarke, O.P. 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reflection On The Sunday Gospel Luke 16: 19-31 By Fr. Isidore Clarke, O.P.                26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Artist Name - 26C SUN I6.MP3

Greetings from Fr. Isidore Clarke. Today I'm going to reflect on the Gospel for the 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time.This is taken from Luke 16. 19-31.

This contains a parable of contrasts, which should make us feel very uncomfortable and move us to action.On the one hand we have the rich man, commonly known as 'Dives.'His life style is opulent.He wears expensive clothes and dines sumptuously with his friends every day.In sharp contrast there's Lazarus, the poor beggar, sitting at the rich man's gates, vainly hoping to receive the scraps from the rich man's table.The poor man was covered with sores and was so weak that he was unable to fend off the dogs which licked them.

So what was the rich man's fault?He didn't do Lazarus any harm, or even drive him away from his house.In fact he didn't do any thing about Lazarus.He didn't notice him, still less did he care for him.He lacked compassion and did nothing. That was his fault.The closed door of Dives' home, which separated him from Lazarus, suggests the rich man's heart being closed to the needy poor man.

But death reversed their roles.While the beggar, Lazarus, now enjoyed the happiness of heaven, here called 'Abraham's Bosom,' the rich man, who had dined sumptuously, now longed for a drop of water to quench his thirst.Now at last, he recognised the beggar, but only to use him to bring him some water.He, who had done nothing to assist Lazarus in his need, now wanted the beggar to come to his rescue.Dives wanted Lazarus to show him the compassion which he, Dives, had refused to give.

But Dives was told that it was now too late.The gulf between them was too great for Lazarus to come to his aid.Not death, but Dives' lack of compassion, during his earthly life, had created that gulf.Dives was still totally absorbed in himself.He only saw Lazarus as a servant, whom he could use to relieve his thirst.It never occurred to him that the poor beggar was his brother, for whom he was responsible.

But at last the rich man did feel concern for others –but only for his own family.Since his five brothers were as self-indulgent as he had been, he wanted Lazarus to be sent to warn them against making the same mistake as he had made, so that they would avoid suffering his punishment.Again Dives still only saw Lazarus as a servant whom he could use. But Dives was told that his brothers had all the warnings they needed.If they refused to obey Moses and the prophets, they wouldn't even heed a messenger sent from the dead. Their problem was not ignorance, but hardness of heart.

This parable is a solemn warning for us.We live in an affluent society, with large surpluses and great wastage.The media proclaim the desperate need of the starving and homeless.We can even see them in our streets.We can't plead ignorance of their need, nor of our obligation to come to their aid.The Scriptures, and above all, Jesus Himself, who has risen from the dead, proclaim our duty to help them.In St. Matthew's Gospel Jesus tells us that He identifies with the needy.In neglecting them we neglect Him and He will disown us if we disown Him. We don't need any further warnings to jolt us out of our complacency, which Pope Francis condemns as self-centred global indifference.

But we can easily become like Dives.Like him, we're probably not cruel or vicious to the poor, instead we simply fail to do anything positive to help them.We can sin by omission, rather than commission.As we hear of so much destitution in the world we can develop 'compassion fatigue.'May we never be condemned by the words of the psalmist, 'I looked for pity, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none,' (Ps. 69. 20)..

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