Tuesday 30 December 2014

Thursday of the 2nd Week of Lent

There are some people in this world who think that riches is a blessing from God.  They begin to think that just because they are rich or someone is rich, they or that someone can do whatever they like and possibly get away with it. For example, we have come across people who are rich in material wealth and property, and think that they can buy their way to privileges and perks, or they think they are entitled to certain benefits reserved only for those who have the means. Some even become conceited and boastful, thinking that money, wealth and property are all that matters. So does this mean that being rich is wrong or sinful? No. It depends on one's attitude and behaviour, since we do come across people who are rich, but they live lives quite detached from the riches they have. In fact, some of these rich people use their riches not for themselves, but for charity and the benefit of mankind. Some even end up penniless at the end of their lives, because they had used up their riches to be of service to others less fortunate. If you are wealthy, what sort of person have you become?

In today's Gospel, we come across the story of Lazarus and the rich man. The rich man ended up in Hades not because he was a rich man per se, but because of his attitude or behaviour. The rich man was rich only for himself, since as the Gospel tells us, he: "used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day. And at his gate there lay a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to fill himself with the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table." He knew that Lazarus was there, but he refused to take notice, he was only concerned about himself, and he did not lift a finger or at the very least get someone to help Lazarus out. After all, the rich man was enjoying himself to the fullest, and he did not want to have anything to do with others. It is only when the rich man ended up in Hades that he realised his folly, but by then it is too late.

What about us? Have we become like the rich man in one way or another? We may have wealth, some of us may be rich in other ways, such as riches in intellect, riches in talent, riches in abilities, but are we keeping such riches only for ourselves? Let us not become complacent, indifferent or have a "tidak apa" or "tidak peduli" attitude (roughly translated from Malay as "don't care" or "doesn't matter to me" attitude), but use our "riches" for the greater glory of God.

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