In Solidarity

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 16:19-31.
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. 
When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, 
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’ 
Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. 
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’ 
He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, 
for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’ 
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’ 
He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'”

One great thing the the internet did was to shrink the world. News updates from any part of the world can easily by accessed with a few clicks or taps. When the world heard about the unprecedented disaster of Typhoon Yolanda (international name, Haiyan) especially in Leyte, aid poured in. Tacloban was in the New York Times Square, in London, on television, and all over the internet. At that time, the world was in solidarity in the face of nature’s terrifying power.

The Gospel today speaks of solidarity. It invites us go beyond ourselves and reach out to others. It does not speak against enjoying riches. In fact, it speaks of the goodness and abundance of God who freely gives out his graces. Some of us are more blessed materially. Jesus’ parable of the rich man reminds those who have more to be sensitive to the needs of their fellow men, especially the poor who may be just sitting outside their golden gates. It brings to focus that everything we have received ultimately comes from God, who in the figure of Abraham, took pity on Lazarus. Lazarus did not merit heaven because he suffered. Rather, God saw his plight and had mercy, so much so that he gave Lazarus not less than Himself in the afterlife. Lazarus was laying in Abraham’s bosom!

This parable is not a story of class struggle between the poor and the rich. It is a story about God’s vision. In the Kingdom of God, there is no rich or poor but one family. As we journey on earth we all receive a fair amount of blessings. It could be material but most of the time it is spiritual. After all, God’s gifts do not come in expensive wrappings but in the very things we easily take for granted: family, friends, good health, opportunity, waking up in the morning. What is essential is invisible to the eye. God’s invitation is an invitation to be like him, the Great Giver. His vision consists in us being gifts to one another. We don’t need a more special and a higher sign from God for us to convinced of this. We only have to look at Him who rose from the dead, the one who gave us His everything.

Our sharing in the one Baptism binds us together in God’s family. We are brothers and sisters to each other, adopted children of the Father and siblings to the only Son. In this family we find solidarity. In solidarity we belong to a one body whose members feel each other’s pain and suffering. The reward of the afterlife is not something that we win but a state that we grow into here today. If only we would listen to God’s invitation in Christ.


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