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Lenten Reflection: Day 16
Gospel, Luke 16:19-31
In the 50,000 words statement made by Pope Francis in November 2014, the 266th successor of St. Peter shook the world’s conscience by this authoritative writing which categorically defines that the “idolatry of money” in secular culture of the world would lead to “a new tyranny.” Michael Sean Winters, who is a fellow at Catholic University’s Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies, in his comments to the Holy Father’s statement said, “There’s no way a Catholic who is a serious intellectual can ever again not address the issue of income inequality, of the structural sins of our economic system. This is so front and center…This is a pastor’s voice. He’s saying, ‘If we’re serious Christians, we need to be knee-deep in this stuff.” Global inequality according to Pope Francis is by the belief is ‘trickle down theories’ which assume that economic growth encouraged by free market, will undoubtedly result in greater justice and inclusiveness in the world.
The inspired writing of the Evangelist Luke in today’s Gospel, at first seems like a case of rich and poor, inequality and disregarding of the marginalized. However, the wisdom of the Catholic Church teaches us that in this astounding parable of Jesus, the rich man is symbolic to the Jewish people and the poor man Lazarus is figurative to the simple and humble Church; who according to Pope Benedict XVI, is seen as doubting and sinful, but yet being reconciled with God by Christ Jesus. The wisdom of God was expected to dwell and be alive in the heart, mind and life of the Jews – the ancient people of Yahweh. This nourishment of Divine wisdom also provided sustenance to those gentiles who pursued truth and salvation. The crumbs falling off the table of the ‘Chosen People’ (the Jews) are figurative to the wisdom that the gentiles caught on to and opened the closed doors of their hearts and minds for The Light. This Light who is Christ Himself – Light to the Gentiles.
There are certain aspects of the human soul and eternity which are uncompromising. The Word of God and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church is clear about Heaven being the eternal and most holy dwelling of God, His angels and saints. Hell being the realm of eternal and most tumultuous suffering and hatred. Purgatory being the realm of merciful sanctification, much needed to be members of the triumphant Church – Heaven. This parable of the rich man and Lazarus should not be perceived literally for an understanding of the essence of the human person/soul in hell, heaven, or the ‘great gulf’ that is described as the parting between these two super natural realms.
My dear friends, what is to be contemplated and understood; is whether or not we are kind and open enough to welcome the bearers of truth (especially Jesus who is Truth in person), wisdom and love. Whether or not we are sharing our abundance (worldly inheritance and spiritual bounty) with those who seek to grow in the love and wisdom of The Lord Most High. And whether or not we are making every effort to ensure that as many as possible join us in righteous pursuit of God and dwelling with Him in heaven for all eternity.