Friday, 24 September 2010

Lazarus and the rich man...

College has started again, so this week was a time to try and tie up loose end of the summer and to start to focus again on the work in the year ahead. This will be my last year philosophy before I start my study of theology. And I must say that I am looking forward to both, to finish my philosophy (although I am a bit looking up to it at the moment) and then to continue my studies with theology, and be able to apply what I have learned.

As it is already running a bit late, and as I will be away most of the day tomorrow I just wanted to share a brief thought thrown together on the Gospel of this Sunday (Luke 16:19-31). It is the Gospel of Lazarus and the rich man, where the rich man during his prosperous lifetime completely ignored Lazarus who is laying at the gate...

When both of them die Lazarus is carried of to Heaven, to the bosom of Abraham, while the rich man goes to hell and is in pain. 

After the rich man begs Abraham to sent a Lazarus to relieve his suffering by cooling his tong with water, which request is denied, he asks if Lazarus could rise from the death and go to his brothers to warn them. But Abraham replies "They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them." (Luk 16:29 RSV). The rich man replies "No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent." (Luk 16:30 RSV) But Abraham said to him, "If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead." (Luk 16:31 RSV)

God has fully revealed Himself to us, though His Son. God gave His only Son, so we might be saved (Jn 3:16ff), that is how much He loves us. All the signs are there to help us on the way, if only we open our hearts and welcome God into our lives:"The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place; but they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words, and scoffing at his prophets" (2Ch 36:15-16 RSV)

We are made in the image and likeness of God, and we are made for God and our hearts can only rest when they rest in God as Saint Augustine tells us. God is love, but we can reject God and this is what happened with the rich man. During his life he did not even see Lazarus. His heart was closed, and he rejected the natural love of God. To love God has as its fruit love for our neighbor, and there was no sign of this in the rich man.

God is love and God has fully revealed himself through His only Son "not to condemn the world", but out of love, so "that the world might be saved through him" (Joh 3:17 RSV). However, "He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God" (Joh 3:18 RSV). God is ready to open us with open arms, but He cannot force us to come to Him, it is our own decision.

If we would only embrace the offer of His love, if we encounter the event, a person who is Jesus Christ, if only we would step into the light so we can see clearly what it is all about... only them would we find happiness, only then can we experience true love!

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