_“There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, full of sores.” (Luke 16:19-20)
When the rich man saw that there was no way Lazarus would give him as little as a drop of water, he said: “Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.” (Luke 16:27-28). Although Abraham did not grant this request, I imagine what Lazarus would have said to them if he was asked to return to the world to talk to the brothers of the rich man. His sermon would have been something like this:
I am Lazarus, the man who sat at your gate begging. My body was always covered with sores; your dogs often licked my sores. You had more than enough to eat and drink but I had nothing. You always invited people to come and dine with you but you never thought of bringing me to your table. You did not consider me a human being because I didn’t have anything to offer in return.
You saw me each day but, in your mind, I never existed. You even thought about removing me from your gate because of the odour of my wounds. You thought I was simply lazy or cursed for living in such an impoverished condition. You blamed everyone else for my situation but you never thought of helping me.
When I died, I went to heaven and was taken to Abraham’s side but your Oga also died and was taken to Hell. He saw me and recognized me for the first time. He begged Abraham to ask me to dip my finger in water to cool his tongue. In life, he had gallons of water to drink and waste, but now he is begging for just one drop.
Hell is real; please do your best to avoid it! Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, Jesus says, that you do unto me. Don’t share your food only with the rich; invite poor people also to your table. Instead of spraying money at your friends’ parties, visit the sick, the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, the naked, the prisoners, and those sleeping under the bridge and show them kindness.
For years, I was there at your gate, God gave you countless opportunities to change but you refused. I warn you before it is too late. As God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah: “I the Lord, search the mind and try the heart, to give to every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:10) If you fail to help the poor ones around you, you are also failing to help Christ.
The truth is: We are the brothers and sisters of the rich man. The fact that we are privileged to hear this parable of Jesus means we have been warned. Remember the corporal works of mercy, they would form the basis of our judgement on the last day.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, help me to listen to Lazarus and act accordingly. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: Jeremiah 17:5-10, Ps. 1:1-4,6, Luke 16:19-31).*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu