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5 March 2015

Read today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 16.19-end

As Jesus’ followers are we to be more concerned about what happens now or about what happens when we die? Is our reading from Luke today all about the last judgment, or is it about the here and now, and the opportunity we have today to live life differently by the Light and Life of Jesus Christ?

The force of the story is that we are accountable for the way we live, especially for how we relate to people who are living in poverty. There is a great gulf already fixed, in today’s world, between the extremely wealthy and the extremely poor. These days in the UK it may just as well be working people who are struggling, where they are not paid a living wage. Meanwhile those at the top are paid vast sums which cushion them and their families from the hardship others face from day to day.

There is no excuse, for the Christian, for failing to respond to the needs of the poor. St John Chrysostom taught that ‘this also is theft, not to share one’s possessions’. He recalls the prophet Amos saying, ‘the theft of the poor is in your houses.’ He says, ‘I beg you remember this without fail, that not to share our own wealth with the poor is theft from the poor and deprivation of their means of life; we do not possess our own wealth but theirs.’

During Lent is a good time to put right some of the things we know are wrong about the way we are living. What action might you take, in solidarity with those living in poverty, as a response to your reading and your prayers today?

 

Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 16.19-end

‘There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He 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.” But 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. Besides 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.” He said, “Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.” Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.” He said, “No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” He 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.” ’