This Sunday we hear the Gospel story of “Lazarus and the Rich Man.” There is a pity which ought to well up in each of our hearts for both Lazarus and the rich man: Lazarus in his suffering and the rich man in his. Yet, it is Lazarus who is our model.
In the final parable of the Gospel, we hear of the prodigal son. The love that the father gives to the son shows us the depth of the love that God has for each one of us.
I have seen many people — politicians, celebrities, even priests — especially in Uganda where I grew up, demanding honor and respect from others. Being honored and respected is good. But, if we overly demand it from others, it may not be good. The readings of this Sunday challenge us as Jesus’ followers to learn to be humble.
Jesus is many times presented as a nice person: kind, compassionate and a gentle shepherd.
However, we are reminded this week that Jesus is uncompromising and demanding. God did not send his only Son to entertain us: He came to proclaim and teach the truth, which often collides with our lives.
Prestige, status, honor, glory, wealth: Are these the things that motivate us? The Scriptures for this coming weekend seek to purify our motivation. In the Gospel, Jesus warns against greed. His parable about the farmer encourages us to store up treasure in heaven rather than on earth.
In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue and discovered the New World. Imagine the joy he experienced in his discovery after two months of hardship. Then, imagine the even greater joy he had in sharing these experiences with his friends.
“They shall look on him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for an only son, and they shall grieve over him as one grieves over a firstborn. On that day the mourning in Jerusalem shall be as great as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo” (Zechariah 12:10-11).
In the Gospel of John, our Lord says, “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).