26th Sunday in O. T. - year C
Reading 1 AM 6,1.4-7 Psalm 145 Reading 2 1 TM 6,11-16 Gospel LK 16,19-31
Jesus continues to develop with His disciples the topic of the influence that wealth can have on men’s heart. His discussion is supported today too by the clear denounce of the prophet Amos: there are men who think only of themselves, who are busy covering themselves in parfume, listening to music, eating and drinking without taking any notice of their people. This is the photo in colours of nowadays' situation.
Who is thinking of tomorrow? Who is thinking of making sure that their own children one day will not be alone, without relatives? Modern society, and even more the future one, will be full of selfishness, so in anyone’s hands, in particular of the rich. “They shall be the first to go into exile, and their wanton revelry shall be done away with”, Amos is warning. It is a healthy advice Jesus’s too. He makes use of a parable, from which come different teachings.
Richness, even if it is God’s gift, if you become attached to it, can be deceiving. Whoever desires it does not realise that there are poor people, and he is not aware they are brethren. They, who are not first and foremost paying attention to God’s Word, use wealth only for themselves and are extremely unfair. In fact, God is giving us His gifts to give us the possibility to love, as His children who are like Him do. If we do not do it, we are preparing a future of desperation for ourselves.
Hell is without an exit, and it is about atrocious suffering for the very reason it does not know communion. Whatever modern well-wishers say, it is a reality. Abraham and Lazarus are in the joy and peace thanks to their faith and their obedience to God. Those who have rejected the faith in the God of Abraham and have refused to share His mercy, where are they now and where will they find themselves?
Here on Earth we are preparing our future: what is the deciding factor is our obedience to God, an obedience which plays out by being aware of others and relieving their sufferings. Sadly, only the dogs approach the poor Lazarus the way they can. We know that the word dog does not apply only to the animals, but it is also the word which applies to the Pagans, those who do not have a God. The one who thought he would be saved only because he was part of the people of God, without using any of His mercy, will be passed on by the Pagans, the people without God.
In order to help the rich to open his eyes on his own sad situation, what can we do?
We should be able to show them miracles which are going to shake them, our commonsense says! Miracles amaze, but do not convert, Jesus says. Neither if someone should rise from the dead, the selfish rich will be persuaded. Jesus makes sure in this way to already answer His disciples, who will not be able to understand why the leaders of the Jews are so mean towards Him and them, notwithstanding the marvelous event of His resurrection. They who do not believe in the Word will not believe in miracles either. They who will not convert with preaching, will not convert at seeing miracles either.
You should not look for miracles, and do not look for people who say they can perform them, instead you will look for the Word, you will try to obey it. This is the very pressing advice of Saint Paul addressed to his disciple Timothy. The obedience to the Word can cost effort and even attract persecution, but it is the only thing which unites us now and in future to Jesus, witness of the light of the invisible God in front of Pilate and the whole people.