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The Word, The Truth

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Continuing the teaching of Jesus on the use of material possessions, the gospel narrates the celebrated story of the rich man and Lazarus found only in Luke (16:19-31). The term πλούσιος (plousios) an adjective, used in around thirty contexts in NT and used also as a noun, literally means ‘rich or rich person, (cf Mt 19:23f; Mk 12:41; Lk 12:16, 16:1, 19f; Jas 2:6; 1 Tim 6:17; Rev 3:17). Metaphorically it indicates spiritual wealth, blessing and abundance of Christian virtue. Christ is rich in divine attributes (2 Cor 8:9) while God is rich in mercy (Eph 2:4) and Christians are rich in faith (Jas 2:5). (For related vocabulary, cf s1S#52 Wealth 10/1021).

The story is considered an extended commentary on Luke’s version of the beatitudes vs woes (6:20, 24). It is basically a statement on the after-life reversal of roles and not necessarily a treatise on the moral failure of the rich man nor the virtue of the poor man. The lot of the two central players’ after-life is shown in vivid contrast. Lazarus is destitute, even dehumanized in full view of the rich man whose lifestyle is that of the wealthiest class (v19f). While the reversal of fortunes after death is present in other oriental cultures, the dialogue between the rich man and Abraham is distinctive (vv 23-26). In v25 the importance of the story is capsulized; the accounts are now settled. What follows serves as an exhortation to all (vv27-31). The living must learn from the scriptures and the teaching of Jesus. The teaching of the Torah and the Prophets are clear enough on respect for the poor (v29). Prophet Amos, for example, speaks forcefully against his contemporaries who amass riches with little concern for the less fortunate,(6:1, 4-7). Further intervention, even if miraculous, will not change the hearts of the self-centered, (vv30-31). Thus the gospel reminds everyone to seize the present opportunity to hear and obey God’s word and not to put it off for some future day. This concluding exhortation has carried the original story a step beyond illustrating the reversal of fortunes.



True riches, then, will come to the rejected as part of God’s reign. At the same time, the wealthy must realize that true riches for them lie in alleviating the needs of the less privileged not in amassing great wealth. In the words of St. John Paul Ii: “We cannot stand idly by enjoying our own riches and freedom if in any place the Lazarus (of today) stands at our door…Riches and freedom mean a special responsibility…a special obligation.

The poor…are your birthers and sisters in Christ. You must never be content to leave them just the crumbs of the feast. You must take of your substance, and not just of your abundance, in order to help them. And you must treat them like guests at your family table”, (Homily at Yankee Stadium, NY, USA October 2, 1979).

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Veritas Editorial

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

President of Radio Veritas

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Kuryente

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 36,728 total views Mga Kapanalig, ang buwan ng Hunyo ay Nutrition Month batay sa Presidential Decree No. 491 noong 1974. Ngayong taon, ibinibida ng National Nutrition Council ang Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (o PPAN) sa selebrasyon ng Nutrition Month, na may temang “Sa PPAN: Sama-sama sa nutrisyong sapat para sa lahat!”. Ano nga ba

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