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Understanding the Gospel this week

Gospel

Luke 16: 19-31

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke

During your life good things came your way just as bad things came the way of Lazarus. Now he is being comforted while you are in agony.

Jesus said to the Pharisees: ‘There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day. And at his gate there lay a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to fill himself with the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even came and licked his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.

‘In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus in his bosom. So he cried out, “Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames.” “My son,” Abraham replied “remember that during your life good things come your way, just as bad things came the way of Lazarus. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony. But that is not all: between us and you a great gulf has been fixed, to stop anyone, if he wanted to, crossing from our side to yours, and to stop any crossing from your side to ours.”

‘The rich man replied, “Father, I beg you then to send Lazarus to my father’s house, since I have five brothers, to give them warning, so that they do not come to this place of torment too.” “They have Moses and the prophets,” said Abraham “let them listen to them.” “Ah no, father Abraham,” said the rich man “but if someone comes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Then Abraham said to him, “If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead.”’

Sunday 25th September 2022

Focus:

The scriptures tell us to be careful about riches, not because having money is sinful in itself, but because it so often leads to self-centredness and the neglect of others. The words of the prophet Amos and Jesus’ parable of the rich man and Lazarus both point out how easily money and the luxuries it can bring can consume our hearts and make us forget God and those around us.

There can be no mistaking the message in today’s gospel. The rich man fails to share his good fortune with the starving man on his doorstep. Who is the starving person on our doorstep? Is it someone craving food, or shelter, or a word of encouragement, or some companionship? Is that person in our own house, or living next door, or in our parish, or the next suburb, or even in another country?

Discuss with your children:

  • Who are the two main characters in today’s gospel story?
  • How are they different?
  • What happened to the rich man when he died?
  • What should the rich man have done while he was living on earth?
  • What is Jesus saying about how we should live?

Parents Notes:
The possession and use of money is always a hard issue for sincere Christians. Discuss with your child/ren about two ways we can look at money: as an opportunity for doing good, or as an opportunity for greed, selfishness and self-indulgence. Although we cannot personally solve the overwhelming poverty and misery in the world, the gospel story of the rich man and Lazarus shows us where to start – at our own doorstep. What might have happened if the rich man had ever really noticed Lazarus? What would happen in our world if each of us really took notice of the lonely, the poor and the disadvantaged.