Today we hear the Gospel Lesson from the Evangelist Luke Chapter 16:19-31 which tells us the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.
In this well-known Gospel Lesson, Jesus presents us with a contrast between a seemingly uncaring rich man and the desperately needy Lazarus. From the story there is little or no interaction between the two men in life; however, this changes dramatically later. We know that the rich man ends up in hell, not because he was wealthy, but rather because he lived only for himself, uncaring and self-sufficient, lacking the love of God, his fellow man and the world in which he lived.
Lazarus on the other hand went to heaven, again not because he was poor, but rather because he endured his suffering and afflictions with humility and trusted in God. It can be said that Lazarus suffered in the image of Christ who became poor for us and died on the Cross to love us and redeem us. You see only love, not need and distress leads and directs us to heaven.
This gospel lesson teaches us that there are many ways to be rich and poor, other than in monetary terms. We can be rich in health, friends, marriage, talents and most of all in a life in Christ Jesus. We are admonished to share our many blessings, large or small, with others for they are blessings from God: We are simply stewards of God’s gifts, not owners and therefore we are exhorted to know the value of hard work, and our responsibility to protect and care for each other as true followers of the Risen Lord. Remember, “the world and all that is in it belong to the Lord; the earth and all who live on it are His.” (Psalm 24:1)
Let us remember in this parable, it was their relationship to each other and to God, which set their fate!