We can learn so much from our interaction with children. Sometimes as adults, our minds are filled with the clutter and worries of attending to our daily needs and those of our family. This ‘hustle and bustle’ causes us to lose sight of the simpler more innocent things in life.
And so it was one day when a father sat with his son as they were going through the little boy’s closet, rearranging clothes and setting aside those things which the little boy found were too small. Such is the nature of things that little boys slowly become big boys, one-day-at-a-time.
The father recognized this might be a good learning moment for his son and proceeded to speak with the lad about alms giving and how we should give away our older, gently used things to children who have less than we do.
To this thought the child responded angrily that he did not want to give them to someone he doesn’t like or to someone who is mean.
Of a certain, the father proceeded to remind his son that the “sun shines on the righteous and the sinners alike”. cf Matthew 5:45
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
It is easy to wonder how many of us consider the same in our heart when we miss an opportunity the share our blessings with those who may be less fortunate. Perhaps it is the poor and needy who were given by the Lord to save the rich. For it is not the material gains we have, but the amount of good we accomplish through them.
In this week’s Gospel, we read about the Rich man and Lazarus. It may strike many as odd that the name of the rich man is not mentioned anywhere, only the name of the poor man, Lazarus. We can understand from this what is meant in Proverbs:
The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot.
The memory of the just and righteous is eternal.
The rich man did not only miss his chance to show mercy, he avoided it daily. We read that Lazarus lay at the gate of the rich man’s home. Surely, he would see Lazarus each day and surely he would step over him or walk around him, missing yet another chance to show mercy.
So wicked is this that the Lord tells us that even the dogs, irrational beasts, showed greater love and mercy towards Lazarus than did his fellow man.
As for Lazarus, was he saved because of his poverty? He was saved by his patient endurance. Perhaps he even prayed daily for the rich man, only our Good Lord knows. As poverty won’t save, neither does riches condemn. It is the lust of wealth and filthy lucre, or to fall prey to the worship of riches, which will lead us to perdition.
Our Lord will direct us at that time as to how much we should give. To some it may be money, to others food, and yet to others clothing. Let us seize the opportunity to give to others and in our mercy toward our fellow man, may our Lord return this mercy to us!