This Sunday also the Gospel challenges us to take a look at the issue of the use of wealth. It is not demonized, but presented as a serious risk that may allow us to move ourselves away from the kingdom. The comparison between the nameless rich person, who dresses in purple and fine linen and eats sumptuously, with poor Lazarus, who asks to be fed with the crumbs that fall from the table, creates a high intensity contrast. The wealthy man was not judged for his wealth but for his indifference: he does not notice the hunger of the poor.
In one of my notebooks I found this quote: “earthly existence is a bridge over the abyss between hell and Abraham’s bosom. It covers the arc of a life, then collapses behind us. We can cross this bridge by exercising that mercy which will then be invoked by those who mocked it in this life. In order to make correct decisions in life is good to see things from the point of view of the “end,” and do now what we wish we could have done.”
Jesus invites us to convert and change our lives now,and base our actions on the Law and the Prophets: everything is based on the love of the Lord through love for our neighbor. The “law” can in fact be summarized in the commandment of love (Rom 13:10) and the prophets invite us to convert to it. We know that faith is not based on miracles or simplydevotions but on the Word, heard and lived out.
Someone (C.D. from Italy) shared with me this experience which, in turn, I share with you as a way of seeing how the Gospel message can be lived concretely in our everyday life. “I was walking downtown and I was attracted by the newly decorated windows of my favorite store and I was thinking that it was time to revamp my wardrobe (I have to be dressed well, both for work and for pleasure, since I really like it). It didn’t take me long to decide to enter to buy two pairs of shoes, that I could be wearing with my favorite dress pants.
Suddenly, I remembered a request for help that I read the latest issue of LivingCity: someone shared the poor conditions in which he lived with his family, asking for help. Without thinking about it, I realized that his suffering for a moment became my suffering. I remember talking with my wife about it and we vaguely decided to help. I am wealthy and because I am comfortable my life continued without taking any actions. Until that day, that is.
As I was about to enter, a sense of shame fell over me. I said to myself, ‘here you are now ready to spend all this money only for yourvanity while that sum could be of help to that family …’ Instead of entering the store I called my wife on the phone. We decided to wire some money, the same amount of the cost of the two pairs of shoes, to that family with the help of the staff of the LivingCity Magazine. Of course, not only I didn’t buythose new shoes but I seem to like my old ones a bit more.”