In today’s gospel, we hear the story of the rich man and Lazarus. We see a man raised up, living a wealthy and full life, versus a poor man lying in the dirt, living a life of suffering. Flash forward into eternal life, and we see that the rich man is now suffering, and Lazarus is raised up.
The verses prior to this parable are important in interpreting its meaning. “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate one and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Luke 16: 13 – 14). At a very basic level, Jesus is warning us about the dangers of wealth. It is not to say that money is evil; realistically, we need money in order to live even the most simple life. However, it can cloud our judgement and become a tool of materialism and selfishness. Do not let something so material, so earthly, stop you from loving others; I think this is the greatest injustice.
In my role as a youth minister, I often tell students that being a Christian in our society today is not easy. It is difficult to wake up and choose a life of faith and love, when so many things exist to drive us away from them. But I assure them that it’s worth it, because I have never once been worse off for having faith; it has always made me a better person, and it has always led me to love others in ways I didn’t know I could. So, whether or not we have the newest iPhone or the most expensive shoes, we can find joy and fulfilment in simply being kind to another.
Be gentle with each other and yourself.