A time for us to be charitable enough.

26 - Luke 16.19-31           Luke16v19to31_2004

Jesus’ parable in today’s Gospel gives us an example of what it means to trust in God and to trust in the “strength of the flesh.” We hear of a rich man who did not recognize the poor man lying at his door. After the rich man died, he began to understand that ignoring the suffering of his contemporaries is contrary to God’s will. He realized that he had not trusted God, who is the champion of the marginalized, and that he had not used his strength, skills, and resources to do what God wanted him to do.
What was the sin of the rich man? What did he do that put him in the torment of hell after he died? The point of the parable was that he did nothing wrong. He simply did nothing! His sin was one that is especially dangerous to those of us who are religiously observant, but fail to act when we see others in need. When we come together, individually and collectively, to help our fellows in time of need, we are aware of our Christian duty. But, what happens when the crisis is over? What does it take to get us to act daily on behalf of the poor, not only to take notice of them at times of crisis?
We, today, are in the same situation as the rich man in the parable. Many of our contemporaries are suffering, “lying at our doors.” Do we trust the Lord who is the defender of the poor, who calls us to do our best to improve their condition using our resources and skills? If someone is struggling now, we need to give immediate assistance and at the same time we need to use all our talents, wisdom, and professional skills to prevent suffering from happening. In other words, we are asked to be charitable and to simultaneously work towards social justice. When we do so, we trust in the Lord and are “like a tree planted beside the waters: it fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; in the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.”

During Lent, let us pray for trust in the Lord, for charity with the poor, and for inspiration to use our skills, knowledge and expertise to change social realities that cause suffering for many in our society and our world.


One Response

  1. Our lives, on earth, will not last forever no matter how good or bad they are. We need to know where we are going, and to recognize that God is calling us. Our readings today give us two choices: hope in the Lord, or hope in ourselves.

    The choice to make — and the rich man never understood even in death — is to “hope in the Lord.” Only then can you follow in His ways.

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