Today’s Gospel and readings speak to certain realities. We are called to show compassion and mercy in this life. We are called to pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness…and to lay hold of eternal life. (First Timothy 6:11-12) In similar fashion, the Prophet Amos warns against complacency. (Amos 6:1) Finally, Jesus includes in his story to the Pharisees the realities of judgement when He speaks of the rich man “in torment” and Lazarus “in the bosom of Abraham”.
It is interesting that Jesus concludes this teaching to the Pharisees with a reference to His own resurrection from the dead. The rich man wanted Lazarus to return from the dead to warn the rich man’s brothers to change their way of life so they would not end up like he did. But Abraham responds: If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead. (Luke 16:31)
This fundamental core of our belief we repeat every time we celebrate the Eucharist: Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again! We are fortunate, we still have Moses and the Prophets, plus we have the witness of the Risen Christ! Christ by his teaching and His way of life taught and demonstrated how we are to live. We are to learn to live less and less for self, and more and more for God and others. This is to live a life of faith. This is to live a life of meaning and purpose. This is to live a life in the hope of the eternal life that is ours because of the compassionate love and redeeming sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
We are fortunate, we have the Church founded by Jesus Christ! Christ and His Church are inseparable. It is through the Church we receive Christ in the Sacraments. It is through the Church we grow in our faith and knowledge of Christ though the preaching of God’s Word and formal instruction, known as Catechism and catechises. We need Christ! We need Christ’s Church! Christ is Risen from the dead, and He comes to strengthen us in this journey of faith, that we may show mercy to others. Christ is Risen, and He comes to guide us, to be our Way to eternal life!