We live in a world of contrasts.
Contrasts are encountered at every sphere of our life.
>> Socially, we find contrasts among the various classes…
… the rich and the poor, the haves and the have-nots, the caste distinctions, the racial and language divides…
>> Emotionally, we find contrasts in our experiences…
… joyful situations sandwiched between tragic moments, moods varying between situations and people, temperaments changing from person to person…
The Gospel of day presents some of these contrasts in a vivid manner…and could be termed as a “parable of contrasts” – the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.
This parable is set out as a play… a two-act play.
The plays takes place on two stages…
… the stage of this world
… and the stage of the other-world.
The contrasts are plenty:
In the First Act….
>> A rich man – a poor man
>> The man is rich but unnamed – the man is poor but is named, Lazarus (meaning ‘God Helps’)
>> The rich man clothed in purple – Lazarus clothed fully with sores
>> The rich man caressed with fine linen – Lazarus licked by the dogs
>> The rich man feasted sumptuously – Lazarus desired to be fed by what fell from the table.
>> The rich man died and was buried – Lazarus died but was carried by the angels.
In the Second Act…
>> Lazarus is in Abraham’s bosom – the rich man is in Hades.
>> Lazarus receives good things – the rich man was in torment.
>> Lazarus was comforted – the rich man was in anguish
This “parable of contrasts” is also …
… a “parable of comfort and consolation”
… a “parable of challenge and confrontation”
>> It’s a “parable of comfort and consolation” because….
… Lazarus, who had undergone great misery and suffering was blessed with the presence of joy of the Lord.
It’s gives comfort and consolation to us, who need to be strengthened in our moments of trials and hardships, knowing that the Lord will surely look with mercy on His needy ones.
>> “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5: 3)
>> It’s a “parable of challenge and confrontation” because…
… the rich man, who had a luxurious life, was condemned to torments, and had to endure the flames of suffering.
It’s a great challenge and a confrontation before us, who need to realise that indifference and an attitude of closing one’s eyes to the pain and misery of the other can be disastrous and punishable
>> “He who shuts his ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in his own time of need.” (Prov. 21:13)
The world of contrasts needs a Gospel of Comfort and Consolation, and towards this, we are challenged and confronted…
>> Challenged to get rid of our attitudes of indifference and lethargy to help the needy ones.
>> Confronted to overcome our tendencies to remain satisfied in our comforts and close our eyes conveniently to the necessities of the other.
Let us make our life a Good News of Comfort and Consolation.
God bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “ The virtues that grow in the midst of prosperities are usually weak and without much backbone.
>> But those which take birth amid afflications are hardy are vigorous…
… just as it is said that the best vines grow amid stones!”