Opportunities to Be Christ Today

This weekend’s readings get us focused on our opportunities each and every day to be Christ in our homes, neighborhoods and workplace. In Luke’s Gospel (16: 19-31), Jesus tells a parable to the pharisees of the rich man who is  clothed in fine garments who dines sumptuously every day. The rich man ignores the poor man – Lazarus –  who is lying at his door covered in sores.

Upon the rich man’s death he ended up in the netherworld. In the parable, Lazarus ended up in what appears to be heaven by the side of Abraham.

The rich man who is now on the other side – hot and hungry – asks Abraham to, “send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.”  Abraham responds by basically saying that you led the life of a rich fat cat on earth and ignored Lazarus and the poor who were in your presence each and every day.  You missed your opportunities  to enter the kingdom of God when you chose to deliberately ignore the needy who were in your presence. Lazarus on the other hand led a very difficult life on earth and is now living a comfortable life with me.

Even after being told by Abraham about his fate, the rich man shows tremendous compassion for others by begging Abraham to send Lazarus to his father’s house to warn his five brothers of what will happen if they continue leading selfish lives.  Abraham’s response is one that I’ve written down on a 3 X 5 card so that I can memorize the language, “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.”

Remember, that it was Jesus who was telling this story and in the parable her was referring to Lazarus rising from the dead to return to earth.  Jesus did go on to die and rise from the dead and many of us today are not persuaded by his resurrection.

Jesus came to earth. He died to atone for every sin ever committed. He rose from the dead and lived among his disciples.

He gave us a commandment that is easy to remember and implement, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples.”

How would Jesus love Lazarus?

There is nothing wrong with money or being rich.  It’s when we’re selfish with our resources and ignore the sick and poor  when we’re off the target that Jesus has set for us.

Show love and compassion to everyone on earth today.  Live for ever in eternity with God.  That sounds like a great plan to me!

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