“Making our life a ‘Good News of Comfort and Consolation’ in a world of contrasts!”
(Based on Jer 17:5-10 and Lk 16:19-31)
Schindler’s List is a 1993 American epic historical period drama film, which received 7 Oscar awards.
This movie is based in the true story of a Catholic businessman, Oskar Schindler, who lived in Poland during the 2nd world war.
After a life of initial notoriety, in which he made a lot of money, by betraying his own people…
… Schindler, later realized the horrors of the Nazi rule.
He began to use his wealth and influence…
… in order to save his fellow Jews from the holocaust.
By the end of the war, he was reduced to having very little money
But in the process, had managed to save hundreds of Jews from being killed.
The last scene of the movie depicts, Schindler being thanked by the people whom he had saved.
But suddenly, Schindler began to weep!
Looking around at the people who were rescued, he exclaimed: “I could have done so much more!”
Holding up his gold watch, he moaned, “This could have bought someone’s freedom!”
He wished that he could have started sooner in helping people, so that many more could have been rescued!
His self-centredness had caused failure in saving many more people!
It was an agonizing experience of the negative effects of “indifference in life” and the “sin of omission”!
We need to examine our life and check:
Am I a person who misses out on doing the good we can?
Do I fail to reach out the needy, even though I am able?
Has self-centredness became a way of life for me?
The Gospel of the Day is a powerful message to look deeper into these aspects of our life…
… and seek to be more other-centred and heaven-oriented!
The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus 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.
- This parable could be perhaps called as a “parable of contrasts”!
The contrasts are plenty:
In the First Act (Lk 16: 19-22)….
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 (Lk 16: 22-31)…
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 could be perhaps also be called as a “parable of comfort and consolation”!
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 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)
- This parable could be perhaps also be called as a “parable of challenge and confrontation”!
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 presents a great challenge and a confrontation before us, who need to realize that “indifference in life” and the “sin of omission” are extremely punishable.
It tells that the attitude of closing one’s eyes to the pain and misery of the other is disastrous!
“He who shuts his ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in his own time of need.” (Prov. 21:13)
We live in a world of contrasts…
… the rich gaining much and the poor losing much day by day!
… the corrupt enjoying worldly success while the honest often helpless on the losing side!
… the powerful lording over all others while the simple of heart crushed in oppression and misery!
This “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.
The ways of the world constantly allure us…
… to be “dressed in purple linen and fine clothes” (Lk 16:19) and to be self-centred: “Just go about with our business and don’t consider other’s needs”
… to be “dining sumptuously” (Lk 16:19) and to look to only one’s own comforts and needs: “Live and let live. I don’t need to care about others, when I have my own cares to be attended to!”
But the Christian way of life is a challenge to this “rich man’s style of living”
There can be no excuse given to us…
… if we miss out on doing the good we can!
… if we fail to reach out the needy, even though we are able!
… if self-centredness has become a way of life for us!
Time is short…
… and our life is limited!
Let us begin today, with no further delay…
To do the good we can…
… in the best way we can!
… to all the people we are able!
… in every situation that is possible!
Let our lives be totally offered to the Lord, Who alone is the source of every goodness and mercy.
In the words of Prophet Jeremiah:
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green…
… and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit!” (Jer 17:7-8)
Let us seek to be more other-centred and heaven-oriented…
… and in this world of contrasts, make our life a ‘Good News of Comfort and Consolation’.
God Bless! Live Jesus!