The gospel of Luke today has a challenging parable depicting two subjects, the poor man who is named Lazarus and an unnamed rich man. The story illustrates Luke’s concern with Jesus’ attitudes toward the rich and the poor. The listeners of this parable in ancient time might not have presumed that the rich man was evil and that the poor man was righteous. On the contrary, prosperity in the ancient world was often regarded as a symbol of heavenly approval, though poverty was regarded as a sign of sin. Jesus told the parable in different way. The rich man's sin was not because he was rich, but he did not helped or notice Lazarus, in spite of his daily presence at the entrance to his home. Lazarus’ faith became the reason he was in good place with Abraham not of being poor. This parable is a representation that richness or poverty is not a symbol of who are bless or not but it is a matter of our faith rooted in love in action of service with others which defines our participation in God’s reign.
Our present situation may not be totally different from what is written in the gospel. The variation of human economic status around the world particularly between rich and poor is very evident. There may be different reasons to explain disparity. However, sins are not the reason behind our economic status, rather many different factors might be considered explaining why an individual or group of people may have more material things. When we see the material things as gifts or blessings, as Christian, we have the responsibility to share them to others who in need because this things are gifts that we received from God.
Everything that we possess, including our own life, are all divine favor or gifts from God that each human receive whether he or she is rich or poor. It is clear and easy to understand that whatever we have is owned by God. Jesus tells us in the parable that being rich or poor in this world is not a sin. However, what causes humans to commit sin is being self-centered like the rich man. He has everything in this life yet had no compassion for the poor or anyone else. His values were based on gaining worldly possessions and wealth and he did not have a desire to serve God. He only felt a need to satisfy his own worldly desires and wants. On the other hand, Lazarus never gave up his faith in God even though he lived in poverty all his life. He is bursting with open sores and dressed in shreds, hostile to survive, starving and too weak to protect himself from the dogs.
These two persons in the parable send us the message from Jesus that love is more important than anything else we have on earth. Through our faith, love is manifest in our personal relationship with the Lord by caring and sharing our gifts with others. This is the one we need in the Kingdom of God which all of us are invited to proclaim. Our challenge is to recognize the action of God in our life through scriptures and everyday experience. We may not have enough material things to share but we have other giftedness that we can share.