The WORD in Other Words by Fr Lino Nicasio SVD (Philippines)
26th Sunday Ordinary Time, Am 6:1a, 4-7, 1 Tm 6:11-16, Lk 16:19-31
Many people do not believe in the hereafter. Some believe only in heaven, while some deny the existence of hell and/or purgatory. Hence the question: “Ano ba talaga kuya?” Well, let‘s doubt no more, because the truth is out, from Jesus Christ Himself. From today‘s gospel Jesus teaches us the following.
First, everyone dies, and that there is an afterlife. Both the rich man and Lazarus died, after which they were judged accordingly and respectively. Remember what Hebrews 9: 27 says: “Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment.” The rich man was condemned to hell, whereas poor Lazarus went to heaven. What a reversal of fortune! This situation also teaches us that there is a heaven and there is a hell and that each destination is final. No return, no exchange.
Next, the gospel teaches us how to avoid going to hell, a place of eternal torment, and how to go to heaven instead. Remember that the rich man did not do anything bad; he simply did not do any good at all, ever! He saw Lazarus languishing, but did nothing. And for that sin of omission, he was damned. A good reminder for us: Christianity is never a passive religion; rather, it is a religion of faith AND good works. The rich man realized this too late, whereas we still have the time and opportunity to change our lives accordingly. Let‘s look for the Lazaruses in our lives and come to their aid. That is the human thing to do, the Christian thing to do and the right thing to do.
Finally, concerning Lazarus. In this life he was in dire straits, but he never cursed God. He accepted his situation with much faith and trust in God. Though he could not do anything because of his grave illness he never lost touch with God. In this life we may suffer in many ways, but we must never despair of God‘s mercy and compassion. We may not get justice in this life, but we will surely get it in the next life. Let‘s grow stronger in our faith, no matter what. And we will find ourselves not only in Abraham‘s bosom. but in God‘s. Amen.