REFLECTION FOR TODAY
March 4, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
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.” Lk. 16:19-21.
In our gospel reference of today we hear of a detail description contrast between of the rich man and Lazarus. In this parable, which was directed to the Pharisees, he hears of the rich man who was punished in hell on account of his indifference to a beggar lying at his gate.
Jesus addressed this parable to the Pharisees who claimed to be children of Abraham but failed to turn from their self-centeredness, and self-righteous condition of loving God and others. The rich man exemplified the attitude of the Pharisees who claimed to be sons of Abraham but failed to share their wealth with those in need.
One of the most seductive and deceptive realities in life is the lure of riches, luxury and the fine things in life. Though the material world is not bad in and of itself, there is great temptation that goes along with it. In fact, it is clear from this story and from the many other teachings of Jesus on this topic that the lure of riches and its effect on the soul cannot be ignored.
Those who are rich in the things of this world are often tempted to live for themselves rather than living for others. When one has all the comforts this world has to offer, it’s easy to simply enjoy those comforts without concern for others. And that is clearly the unspoken contrast between these two men.
Though poor, it is clear that Lazarus is rich in the things that matter in life. This is evidenced by His eternal reward. It is clear that in his material poverty, he was rich in charity. The man who was rich in the things of this world was clearly lacking or poor in charity and, thus, upon losing his physical life, he had nothing to take with him. No eternal merit. No charity. Nothing.
The Story of the rich man and Lazarus teaches us that the truth we profess to believe in must be put into practice in our lives. in particular, our lives should be a witness of love and service that springs from our faith.
Reflect, today, upon that which you desire in life. Too often, the deceptions of material wealth and worldly possessions dominate our desires. In fact, even those who have little can easily become consumed with these unhealthy desires. Seek, instead, to desire only that which is eternal. Desire love of God and love of neighbor. Make this your only goal in life and you, too, will be carried away by angels when your life is completed.
My Lord of true riches, You chose to be poor in this world as a sign to us that true riches come not with material wealth but with love. Help me to love You, my God, with all my being and to love others as You love them. May I be wise enough to make spiritual riches my single goal in life so that these riches will be enjoyed for all eternity. Jesus, I trust in You.