ICCH Bulletin of September 25, 2022
September 25, 2022 Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Welcome Father Johann Today’s Readings: Am 6:1a, 4-7 | 1 Tm 6:11-16 | Lk 16:19-31
The parable in the Gospel of today generally termed as the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus was directed towards the Pharisees. This parable contains the all-important parabolic dynamic of reversal. It begins with the state on earth of the rich person and the poor man and at the end, the reversal of roles. The rich man in the story is nameless but the poor beggar is given the name, Lazarus meaning, the poor of Yahweh as if to reverse the world’s pinion. This nameless rich man had more of this world’s wealth than he could ever use. The description of both a rich man and a poor man is interesting. The rich man is not portrayed as evil or villain and the poor man is not described as particularly virtuous and heroic. The story does not tell us how he got the wealth, perhaps in a proper way through his hard work or he inherited it from his ancestors. He was wealthy. He dressed as a rich man would and had splendid royal living and there was no indication of anything wrong with him. All he did was to enjoy his wealth and his good food, his big house, his fashionable and expensive clothes.
All the parables of our Lord are based on everyday happenings. While we hope and pray that the case of the rich man described is not an everyday occurrence. We cannot doubt but that such cases have happened and will happen again. This rich man had everything a man could desire on earth and he set his heart on his wealth that he forgot about He was not ignorant of God as he was aware of Abraham and Moses and Prophets. He was totally insensitive to the needs of Lazarus. When he died, he could not take his luxury with him in the afterlife. None of his luxuries could defend him against the judgment that awaited him. In fact, his luxury condemned him. Lazarus is presented to us as a person who was not only destitute but also was suffered physically as well. He bore his lot patiently. He was quite content to get the crumbs from the rich man’s table. The reason why dogs were hanging around the table is that when the guests were invited to a feast, they would use bread to wipe their plates or their hands and then toss it under the table. Naturally, this would draw the dogs that would clean up the floor by eating what had been dropped from the table. This was the food that Lazarus longed to have so he could survive. The Gospel of Luke tells us that the poor man was sick and weak. He had sores that the dogs would come and lick. Obviously, the poor man could not afford medication and the rich man refused to acknowledge his presence and his needs. The story goes further to tell us that both the rich man and the poor man died. The poor man was taken to Heaven by angels and the rich man was sent to Hades where he was tormented.
Central to the story is the table laden with food. This is both the symbol of the Kingdom and also points to our Eucharistic table, which we dare to approach every day and every Sunday. The rich man made no move whatever to share what he had at the table. He could have done so at either of two levels. First, he could have seen to it that the poor man had enough to eat and he might even have gone further and looked after his physical welfare. This is at the level of “charity”, which most of us feel good about doing. In the second level, neither of the men is seen as rich or poor. They sit down together at the same table and they give and receive and share on a footing of equal dignity the meal and the food. It is quite irrelevant whether one of them is more intelligent, more active, more enterprising, and healthier.
Next, we heard that the rich man requesting Abraham to send Lazarus to his father’s house to warn his five brothers of the plight that awaited them if they continued to live as the rich man did. Abraham answers that his brothers had Moses and the prophets. In other words, they had the laws and the words of the prophets. Equally today, we have the Words of Jesus and the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church that are continuously related to us through the ministers of the Word of God. As the rich man had plenty of opportunities to hear the truth, today, God’s creations, within and without the Church, have all the necessary opportunities to hear the truth. Sending Lazarus back to earth in spirit form is not going to save anyone.
Source: shortened from https://msjnov.wordpress.com/2022/09/18/twenty-sixth-sunday-of-the-year-september-25-2022/ Image: JESUS MAFA. The Rich Man and Lazarus, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48267 [retrieved September 24, 2022]. Original source: http://www.librairie-emmanuel.fr (contact page: https://www.librairie-emmanuel.fr/contact).
- 2 October - The next Social Gathering comes off on Sunday, October 2nd. We encourage you to bring along something to share with the community; it could be anything from fruits to cookies or other fingerfood. Looking forward to seeing you there!