Twenty-Sixth Sunday In Ordinary Time, September 30, 2007

Amos 6: 1a, 4 - 7

1 Timothy 6: 11 - 16

Luke 16: 19 - 31

Listen and let yourself be convinced


Jesus tells a parable which puts both a rich man on the stage and a poor man named Lazarus. The first scene (v. 19-21) describes Lazarus in a state of helplessness. A second scene brings about a reversal (v. 22-31): Lazarus, at his death, is taken to the bosom of Abraham, while the rich man finds himself in a state of despair. The parable successively puts the reader into the shoes of each man. The rich man is characterized by what he has and does; the other has an identity, a name, hopes and dreams which have not come to fruition. The first is in a tortured state when he dies. He who had lived in affluence, who had had no desires nor wants, now suffers from thirst. Lazarus, on the other hand, is carried off and finds himself with the angels whose mission is to praise God. Lazarus has nothing to say now but the rich man prays to Abraham, first for himself, then for his family.

The rich man recognizes Abraham for he knows the Scriptures. He is among those who, knowing the Scriptures, dont listen to them, - those who are sufficient to themselves and dont open even a crack for the Word of God to enter and awaken the desire to live in relation to others, to the Other. As Abraham says to the rich man: those who dont hear the Scriptures cannot be convinced. Everything depends on listening to Scripture, to the Word. We can know the Word from the exterior without being touched or affected in any way. Or, we can listen and be radically changed to the point of seeking to construct our life in coherence with the biblical message.

The rich man is closed to the Word of God and closed also to the suffering of poor Lazarus. The rich man has no name. Because he is anonymous, we can wonder about his identity. Could I be that rich man who has everything and does not accept the invitation of the Gospel to experience sympathy, compassion? What is the obstacle to my hearing the Word of God, which keeps me from welcoming the gift of God? What self-satisfaction closes me off from my neighbor and from God? Can we hear in the intimacy of our hearts the invitation that Paul extends to Timothy: You, man or woman- of God, seek to be just and religious, live in faith and love, perseverance and gentleness

— Sr. Sophie Ramond, RA