Weekly Missionary Reflection
26th Sunday in ordinary time, 25 September 2022
Prov. 6:1a,4-7; Ps. 146:7,8-9a,9bc-10; 1Tim. 6:11-16; Luk. 16:19-31
Another famous story from Luke. A rich and a poor man, living in the present and future life. The contrast between them is sharply illustrated. The rich man was dressed in purple garments and fine linen while the poor man was covered with sores. The rich man dined sumptuously while the poor man was surrounded by the dogs “dining” his sores. The ‘blessed rich’ man was living in a house, while the cursed unclean man lied at his door. A door should be an opportunity for sharing and inviting the neighbors to come in. Nevertheless, both just stuck on each’s position. No one greeted each other nor offered help. There was only the longing of the poor man for the scraps falling from the rich man’s table. Unfulfilled longing! However, this story has a surprise: the poor man was given a name, but not the rich man. The poor man only had a name, although he had nothing. Lazarus means “God is my help”, a promising sign of a happy afterlife. On the other hand, the rich man had no name although he had everything. This is the sign of his ’emptiness’ after his life, not even a drop of water would he have!
When both died, their place and position were determined by others. Their destiny was not in their hand anymore. When Lazarus died, he was carried away by the angels. The rich man also died and was buried. Lazarus was carried away to the bosom of Abraham, but the rich man went down to the grave. Now between them, there was a great chasm that no one could cross. The end of their life was definite: Lazarus became a very important person in the eternal banquet, while the rich man suffered torment in the flames. Only now the eyes of the rich man were opened and saw Lazarus. During his life, his eyes were closed to helping others. During death, his eyes were opened to ask for help. But he only called Abraham. For him, Lazarus was just the same poor man and a servant.
Abraham’s response emphasizes two things to the rich man and also to us. First, only when we are still alive do we have the opportunity for helping our neighbors. During our life, we have the chance to open our hearts to the sufferings, of the poor. Neglecting to open the door and to bridge the now and here distance means we will build a greater distance to the eternal banquet. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, to bridge the distance among us here, as the afterlife the distance will be decided by the Other. There will be no more negotiation, the distance is eternal, no bridge across it!
Second, we don’t need a miracle to be just and to bridge the gaps between the poor and rich in this life. The message from a risen person from the dead is not required. Only sensitivity and opened eyes are needed to see beyond our comfort zone and ego. The sensitivity must be continuously honed by referring to the calls for justice in the Bible, as handed down by Moses and the prophets, and especially by the Lord’s message about justice, solidarity, and equality.
(Hortensius Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society)
DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER
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 salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit animating Jesus, also be my guidance and strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.
Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus, and the Church, in particular, I present my prayer for our Pope and apostle prayer of the Indonesian Church this month:
For the purpose of Universal Churches: Death sentence abolishment
We pray that the death sentence against humans dignity could be officially abolished in all countries.
For the purpose of Indonesian Churches intention: Avoid the dependence on gadgets
We pray so that we can consciously avoid excessive dependence on gadgets.