LK 16: 19-31



In the time of Jesus, the problem was that the rich did not pay attention to the poor. For the most part, this is still happening today, the rich living as if the poor do not exist. But in our time, another extreme is also playing out. In social media, there are those who focus on the poor, highlighting their misery, in order to ask for donations or in order to be seen as benefactors of the poor. And this is called aptly “poverty porn.”


The Lord Jesus clearly expects the rich among us to show some expression of concern for the poor over the tempting attitude of indifference toward them. Notice that the rich man in the gospel did not do anything bad to Lazarus. He just remained unmoved by Lazarus’ sufferings. But the Lord is also expecting us who want to help the poor to exercise discreetness as against the allure of manipulation and exploitation of those who are in most need.


How should we love the poor, as the Lord commands us? First, I believe that we must start by remembering that we are all poor in the eyes of God. Poverty is an experience inherent in our humanity; it is our common lot. Who does not go through periods of loneliness, restlessness, suffering and want? We are all poor because it is not all about money. Some rich people are poorer than the scavenger in the dumpster. We are all poor.


Second, we must behave like all human beings do, especially the poor among us. This means that we must live our lives mindful that in our poverty, we all need the grace of God. No one is so rich that he cannot anymore receive – that’s something we have heard before. So in our lives there must not be any room for arrogance or sense of false independence from anybody else. The poor know how to surrender to God their weakness. The poor lives in total trust that the Lord provides for his loved ones.


Lastly, be generous from the heart. Some people express their difficulty about giving. How to give? How much to give? When to share? Saint Mother Teresa once said, “give until it hurts.” If you are capable of sharing anything to others, it must not only impact your pocket. It must first of all impact your heart. You give because you are concerned, because you want to be involved in that person’s struggle, because you love the person like Jesus loved the poor.


We are all Lazarus in this life. But even a Lazarus can be more loving and generous than the rich man of the parable.


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