Before I begin or even share what today’s scripture reading from mass was, I want to say this: even if you’re not religious, I can guarantee that you’ll gain something from this post. Regardless of your religious background and depth, we can all gain something from the hidden (or maybe not so hidden) messages that lie within scripture. Now onto today’s readings.
If you’re a Christian and went to church today (or plan on doing so later this evening), then you’ll know that today’s readings were Amos 6:1, Timothy 6:11, and Luke 16:19 (that’s where they start, anyway). The one I want to focus on is Luke’s 16:19-31; here is the passage in full (if you don’t want to read through it, skip to the next paragraph):
19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets; neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
The topic of the homily focused on Luke 16:19-31; and this is where I come in and provide my thoughts and what I gained from this homily. He begins his homily by asking the congregation a question: “Who is the poor man? Or rather, who is the rich man?” A funny guy blurted out “Trump,” to which the priest replied, “Yes, but let’s keep politics out of this, otherwise I’ll get thrown some rotten tomatoes.” Then a woman raised her had and said “The rich man is the poor man.” She elaborated, saying that since the poor man ends up in heaven in the end, that he wins in the long run. My answer to this daunting question? We are all both the poor man and the rich man during our lifetime. Here’s why.
We all are the poor man, or Lazarus, in the case of Luke 16:19-31. Some people in the world may be afflicted with starvation and poverty, or with sickness and ill health. Others of us may be suffering from being laid off at work or in a relationship that’s falling apart. Or maybe you’re not getting that job promotion you believe you deserve or acceptance from those you love. Whatever your trial is, it makes you the poor man in your life. Your case of “poor man” may not be as severe as Lazarus’, but we all have experiences that make us the poor man. We can learn from these experiences, and gain much from them if you allow yourself to reflect on them.
On the flip side, we also exhibit characteristics of the rich man. Some of us may be exactly like the rich man in the story, that is clothed in fine linen (or designer labels) and fare sumptuously every day (eating at fine dining restaurants). Others of us may be rich in love, intellect, generosity, etc. Rich doesn’t always have to refer to how much money a person has or how much property they own. It can refer to a number of things. In this way, we are all rich “men” too.
So what exactly did I learn from today’s reading and homily? Well, many things. That although it may be nice to be the rich man, there maybe things that we aren’t learning and are ignoring (such as Lazarus). And even though it’s tough to be the poor man, things can turn out bright for us if we reflect upon our trials and allow ourselves to learn something from them. We are all both poor and rich, and in different ways. Don’t be what our priest called a “complacent person.” Those are people that are ignorant, sometimes we’re ignorant even if we didn’t mean to be. We’ll see a homeless person on the street and ignore them. We’ll see someone fall down but not bother to help them up. We can all change and be caring people. You don’t have to give the homeless person money, you can provide them with a smile or a wave hello. You don’t need to walk the fallen person back to their home, you can just help them up onto a nearby park bench. If you see something, do something; even if it’s a small gesture. It’ll help you spiritually, regardless of whether you’re a religious person or not. Being a sharing and caring person is all part of the happy and healthy adventure, which is what we’re all seeking.
Hopefully you’ll all consider helping someone out today, even in the smallest way. Try not to be ignorant or complacent. Care about something, share something. I’m sharing what I’ve learned, caring about my spirituality. I hope you all gained something from this post, whether it be big or small. It’ll definitely help you on your adventure, even if you don’t know it yet (or maybe ignoring it). 🙂 ❤