The Poor Man Whose Name is “Lazarus”

Missionary Weekly Reflection
Twenty Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, 29 September 2019
Am. 6:1a,4-7; Ps. 146:7,8- 9a,9bc-10; 1Tim. 6:11-16; Luk. 16:19-31

Another famous story from Luke, the Evangelist. A rich man vs a poor man, living at present world and the world after. The contrast of the two is clearly illustrated. The rich is dressed in fine linen and purple garment, the poor is covered with sores. The rich dines sumptuously with the rich, the poor eats together with the dogs who “feast” with his sores. The rich is blessedly living in a house, the cursed filth lies at the gate. The gate is supposed to be an opportunity and chance to share and invite fellowmen into the house. However, both are just fixed on each position. No greeting each other nor lending a hand. Only the longing feeling of the poor for the scraps falling from the table of the rich. Unfulfilled longing! But this story has a surprise: the poor has a name, but not the rich. In spite of having nothing, the poor only has a name. Lazarus means “God helps”, a sign of happy ending of his life. On the other hand, the rich has no name although he has everything. That is a sign of the empty ending of his fate, not even a drop of water will he have!

When they both died, their place was determined by another party. Their fate was no longer under their own control. Lazarus died and was risen by angels. The rich also died and buried. Lazarus was carried to Abraham’s bosom, the rich descended into the tomb. Now the chasm of both was so wide that could not be bridged. The ending of both fate is definitive: Lazarus becomes an honored guest in the eternal feast, while the rich suffers in netherworld. Now he just realized and saw Lazarus. In his life, he was blinded to help. After death, he just realized and asked for help. But he only greeted Abraham. For him, Lazarus was just the poor and servant.

Abraham’s answer confirms 2 things to the rich and us. First, the opportunity and chance to help the human being only exist when we are still alive in this world. In this world we have the chance to give our heart to the sufferers, and to share with the poor indeed. Failure to give our heart and to bridge the distances in present life will broaden our distances in the next eternal feast. So when we still have the chance, improve our distances here and now, as after-life distances will be determined by the Other. There will be no more negotiation there, the distance is eternal, not bridged!

Second, miracle is not required to be justice and to bridge the chasm of the rich and poor in this world. No need news and message from someone risen from the dead. The only required is our sensitivity and opened eyes, to see beyond our comfort zone and egoism. The sensitivity has to be continually sharpened by referring to the call for justice in the Scripture, as inherited by Moses and the prophets, and especially by the justice messages from God.

(Hortensio Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society, Jakarta)


Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:

For Evangelization intention:

Protection to the sea: May all politicians, scientists, economists be able to work together in protecting and conserving the ocean and world sea. We pray

For Indonesian Church intention:

Joyful Herald: By constantly appreciating the Holy Bible, may all Catholics be enabled to interpret each profession as an opportunity to be a Joyful Herald to all human kinds. We pray

Special intention:

May the people in our Diocese always give thanks to the accompaniment of the angels who are Lord’s messenger as the expression of Divine Providence so that Divine wisdom would support the Church. We pray



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