Faith Daily | 4 March 2021
PRAYER of the WEEK Lent Two
Remember, O Lord,
what you have wrought in us
and not what we deserve,
and, as you have called us to your service,
make us worthy of our calling;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen APBA p484
GOSPEL for the Day: Luke 16 19:31
19“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ 25But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ 27He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— 28for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ 29Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Rev'd Jonathan
Today we hear the parable of Lazarus (not to be confused with the other Lazarus beloved of Jesus in John’s Gospel) and the rich man. The story is pretty simple in outline: the rich man dies and expects to go straight to paradise but instead finds himself in Hades; the poor man dies and is embraced by Father Abraham, elevated for eternity far above the man who neglected the needy during his time on Earth. When the rich man cries out for help, and even when he asks that his brothers still living should be given an undeniable warning, the reply is clear: you had your warning, and so has everyone who has heard the Scriptures!
Who do we identify with in this story? I doubt I am the only reader who feels a tremor as I wonder if this parable could be aimed at me. A quick Google search of “Am I rich?” confirms my suspicions. Sure, it’s the American billionaires who are found more often in the headlines, but Australians are undeniably wealthy people on a ‘per capita’ basis, compared to all other nations. If you own a car, you are immediately in the top 50% of the world’s population, we are told. If you own a home, you are in even more elite company.
But this story is not just about ‘bashing the rich’: it’s a warning that if we are just staring at our bank balances or share portfolios all day, we are missing out on so much of life. As the prayer attributed to St Francis reminds us, it is in giving that we receive. Jesus shows us over and over that what seems like wise behaviour in worldly terms leads only to ultimate dissatisfaction and the realization of misplaced time and energy. Using our resources to help, to love and to give to those on the margins, the poor, the homeless, the hungry, the victims of violence – this is where we find the heart of Christ and true meaning in life. Lord, give us ears to hear.
FINAL PRAYER: Book of Common Prayer
Grant, we beseech thee, merciful Lord,
to thy faithful people pardon and peace;
that they may be cleansed from all their
sins and serve thee with a quiet mind;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.