This is a syndicated post from Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse. [Read the original article...]
Sunday of the Twenty-Sixth Week In Ordinary Time
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Jesus said to the Pharisees: There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died,he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment…”
The Rich and The Poor. Let’s get one things straight right from the very beginning. Contrary to popular belief, the rich man did not go to hell because he was rich. Nor did the poor man go to heaven because he was poor. Lazarus went to heaven because he was a good man. The rich man went to hell because he was not.
With that said, it would be naïve for us to think their is no correlation between condition in life and attitude towards life. The Lord made it clear there is when he said: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” (Mk 10:25).
What happened to you? Maybe it was psychological. Maybe it was just fallen human nature, but something horrible happened to us when we became rich or influential, beautiful or sexy, popular or famous. We became smug, arrogant, boastful, brash, self-assured, self-confident, swaggering, conceited, self-satisfied, overconfident.
This is horrible and we know it! At least most of us do.
So the problem with being rich (or beautiful) is that it can quickly go to our head before it goes to our heart. It can make us think we are better than others; more worthy than others; more entitled than others.
As soon as I read today’s parable, I was reminded of an observation Victor Hugo once made: “There is always more misery among the lower class than humanity among the upper class” (Les Miserables).
We must be careful with our wealth and what it can do to us. One of my concerns is one day our government will treat people without a job the same way we once treated people with leprosy. Thank God our government is not very efficient!
But it can happen. In fact, it has already happened.
Putting things above people. Some people treat their possessions better than they treat people.
Just yesterday I read an article regarding the latest iPhone. It turns out that one in eight single men would prefer one of the new iPhones to a new girlfriend.
It gets worse.
A further 3% of respondents to the survey said they would happily ditch their current love if they got the newest iPhone in return. One man said, “I’ve been going out with the same girl for three years, but if it meant getting my hands on a new iPhone, she’d be dumped in a second. To be honest, I’m getting a bit fed up with her anyway.”
As if he would never get fed up with his iPhone!
Of course this person is sick! But there are a lot of people who are sick in our society.
Putting Myself above Other People. It’s not uncommon for guys to treat their girlfriends better than their parents. Don’t fool yourself guys! This has more to do with selfishness than with true love, compassion, understanding and/or consideration. This has more to do with beauty and sex than with love and sacrifice. Parents deserve our time, attention, affection and compassion. They have sacrificed a lot for us. It’s true, they have done much more for us than even the holiest of girlfriends.
How do you see things? I find it interesting how Lazarus would sit near the door of the rich man. What would the rich man say to poor Lazarus? How would he treat him? What would he give to him? Apparently, it was the minimum. It was not good enough. When someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required (cf. Lk 12:48).
We are all poor. And we are all poor in the things that matter most: faith, hope and love. Is there any wonder why we are starving for happiness, friendship and love?
What can we do? Let’s stop using people like things and placing ourselves above others. Let’s start doing what we were told do so long ago: to love God above all things and to love one another as the Lord has loved us. (97)
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