To Live In Christ Is To Serve As Christ
Daily Bulletin – 3/21/19
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.'”(Luke 16: 19-31)
Was the rich man condemned because he had riches, because he abounded in earthly possessions, because he ‘dressed in purple and linen and feasted sumptuously every day’? No.
The rich man was condemned because he did not pay attention to the other man, because he failed to take notice of Lazarus, the person who sat at his door and who longed to eat the scraps from his table. Nowhere does Christ condemn the mere possession of earthly goods as such. Instead, He pronounces very harsh words against those who use their possessions in a selfish way, without paying attention to the needs of others”
The parable of the rich man and Lazarus must always be present in our memory; it must form our conscience. Christ demands openness to our brothers and sisters in need — openness from the rich, the affluent, the economically advantaged; openness to the poor, the underdeveloped and the disadvantaged. Christ demands an openness that is more than benign attention, more than token actions or half-hearted efforts that leave the poor as destitute as before or even more so.
In a literal sense, the poor remind us to live outside ourselves and to orient ourselves to service rather than greed and gluttony. In the case of the rich man, he dissipated his own salvation by ignoring Lazarus, who received justice in the bosom of Abraham.
Christianity is an active word. Sitting at home and praying is one tenth of the Christian life. We must always remember that to live in Christ is to serve as Christ did. To serve as Christ did is to live as a follower of Christ.
Prayer of The Day
Lord God, I know that my heart can be set on only one thing Fill me with you, so that I may radiate you. Anything that is not you cripples my efforts to give you to others. Rid me of my selfishness. Make me your apostle.
What is being critiqued in the Scriptures today is when we ignore what is happening around us. Indifference to those who are in need and who are suffering is what the Scriptures put before us today as sinful. What we do to others we do to God. What we do to others we do to Jesus. What we don’t do for others is what we don’t do to Jesus.
- Posted in: Reflections