R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Though our Lord Jesus Christ was rich, he became poor,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus’ story of the rich man and Lazarus surpasses every promise of glory
to the faithful poor and every threat of doom to the careless wealthy that any preacher
Here is the traditional image of Hell as a burning underworld of torment;
and it’s hard to argue that the sufferer has not deserved his punishment. Even his
witless plea that Lazarus should approach this “place of torment” and suffer
the unbearable heat demonstrates his mindless arrogance. When that plea fails
he insinuates that no one warned him what might happen, and even that someone
should have risen from the dead to warn him. But, as the reader knows so well, a
man has been raised from the dead and his warnings too were ignored.
Nor is Christianity a lone voice in the wilderness; most religious
traditions warn against reliance on riches.
The fool is his own enemy. Seeking wealth, he
destroys himself. Seek rather the other shore. (Buddhist)
The Prophet pointed out with his hand towards his
right, his left and his back (while illustrating it). He proceeded with his
walk and said, “The rich are in fact the poor (little rewarded) on the Day of
Resurrection except those who spend their wealth like this, and like this, and
like this, to their right, left and back, but such people are few in number.” (Islam)
If you want to know what God thinks of money,
look at the people he gives it to. (Jewish)
Even with vast sums of wealth, the mind
is not satisfied. Gazing upon countless beauties, the man is not satisfied. He
is so involved with his wife and sons - he believes that they belong to him.
That wealth shall pass away, and those relatives shall be reduced to ashes. (Sikh)
The pursuit of wealth is a singularly bad investment of one’s time,
energy and talent. It can lead only to segregation, ignorance, confusion and
deepening distress. Isolated by security, insulated from want, separated from the
fellowship of fellow pilgrims in this Valley of Darkness, without their
friendly guidance and helpful criticism, the rich can expect only to stumble
and fall. They invite catastrophe and pathetically beg for sympathy when it falls
To live in the United States at any time since the Second World War is to
suffer a particular danger. The only nation to come out of the war wealthier
and more powerful, our policies have pursued greater security, more military
power, and more extravagance even as we entertained the fiction that every
nation and every human being should enjoy the same “freedoms.” From within this
gilded cage it is hard to persuade our children that their so-called freedoms are,
in fact, severe restrictions.
The Christian must follow the path of Jesus into poverty and communion.
Though he was in the form of God Jesus did
not consider Equality with God something to be grasped.