Enzo (not his real name) is a friend I met way back in the Church community. He has a beautiful family, a stable job, and was active in the ministry for so many years. Some years back, I started missing him in the Friday worship and meetings. It was a few years after that I heard there was a falling out with his spouse and they had chosen to live apart. It was sad because it was like a family made perfectly.
The journey to Heaven isn’t easy to complete especially in a world made materialistic, mad and passive. It takes a lot of focus, hard work and prayers (tons of them) to survive this spiritual battle as there’s a lot of distractions, challenges, and temptations. Our human weakness coupled with loss of commitment to fight the good fight of faith bring in the danger of falling out of the road. It is a threat so real that when you aren’t prepared and ready to do battle against complacency and earthly ambitions, you will surely fall on the wayside.
In the First Reading (Am. 6:1a, 4-7), the Lord warned the complacent in Zion, how they lie upon “beds of ivory, stretched comfortably on their couches, eat lambs taken from the flock, and calves from the stall!” The Lord declared that “they shall be the first to go into exile, and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.”
The Gospel (Lk. 16: 19-31) tells about the
rich man and Lazarus, who lived contrasting lifestyles while living on earth.
The rich man was “dressed in purple
garments and fine linen,
dined sumptuously each day”. On the other hand, Lazarus was a poor man, “covered with sores, and who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table.” To most of us, we already know the rest of the parable, ending with the rich man begging Abraham, “to send him (Lazarus) to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.” But Abraham replied, that they have Moses and the prophets, and for the five brothers to listen to them. The rich man insisted but Abraham said, “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.”
The rich man’s reaction is common for most of us. We want hard evidence to believe in Eternal Life even though we’ve been taught about it in school, in Church and in the family as well. While you may start well in your community, you may find yourself midway in your life journey and then the doubts start to creep in. You start to compare yourself with others and ask questions about why you aren’t this and why you aren’t that. The devil sees the opportunity and so you find yourself getting comfortable with your “new” lifestyle away from Church and then from the Lord. You forgot what you’ve learned in your life journey that like any competition, it is not how you start but it is how you finish.
Let us pray to listen and accept the challenge of St. Paul in today’s Second Reading (1 Tm. 6: 11-16),
you, man of God, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and
Compete well for the faith. Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you before God, who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate for the noble confession, to keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
May we be always faithful to Him, to be on guard, and to persevere.
“Though our Lord Jesus Christ was rich, He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich.” (2 Cor. 8: 9)