Posted by: fvbcdm | April 13, 2015

Feast of Pope Saint Martin I (13 April 2015)

In the Gospel, Our Lord tells us the parable of the rich man and the poor Lazarus at his door. The rich man lived sumptuously, finely clothed, finely fed, and enjoying the good things of this world. The poor man lay at his door, badly in need of food, but was given none. The rich man died and went to hell; the poor man died and went to heaven, which Jesus calls “the bosom of Abraham.”  When the rich man in hell looked up to heaven and saw the poor man there, he asked Abraham to please let the poor man come down and give him a little water since he was being tortured in the fire of hell. But he was told that that wasn’t possible. Well, then, replied the rich man, now in hell, please let the poor man go to my brothers’ house and warn them not to live as I did. Abraham answers him, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them listen to them.” No, Father Abraham, says the rich man. They won’t listen to them, but if someone rises from the dead and goes to them, then they will listen. No, responds Abraham, if they won’t heed Moses and the prophets, they won’t heed even if someone were to rise from the dead.

In this simple little story, Our Lord teaches us many things. First, that to ignore the needs of the poor is gravely wrong and punishable in eternity. Second, that there is an afterlife with a heaven and a hell, which were denied by one religious group—the Sadducees—at the time of Our Lord and are still denied by some people today. Third, that those who will not pay attention to the legitimate religious authorities of their own persuasions will not heed the teachings of Christ, who rose from the dead and thus proved the truth of his claims. We DO accept, adore, and obey the risen Christ, and the legitimate authorities whom he has given us in his Church. And if we see the face of Jesus in every poor person in the world and recognize that we share the Christian obligation to be of help to them, then we have every reason to hope that heaven will open its doors to us when our eyes close in death. Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God Bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago.

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