So why did Lazarus do so well and the rich man do so badly in our Lords parable? Luke 16:19-31

Life is surely a sacred opportunity for spiritual development. If we ignore its spiritual opportunities and just indulge in sinful pleasures, we waste it and must face the consequences. We have to discover that is we live our lives driven by the seven deadly sins there will be consequences. ‘Riches’ give us that opportunity to make these mistakes

However, the poor man Lazarus would have had little opportunity:

to be proud – because he had nothing

or to be greedy - because he had little food

or to be lustful - because there would have no opportunity

or to be angry - because he had no one to tirade over

So the poor man had few wicked choices – and went to Heaven

The rich man however would have every opportunity to be proud, to be greedy, to be lustful, to be wrathful at his many employees, and be as lazy as liked. He had every opportunity to sin - every opportunity to indulge

But he is also had every opportunity not to do these things – to have faith - to have love and to be charitable

Our late Queen was fabulously rich – but worked for the service of others all her life – she did not need to work. Equally: 

She could have been proud – but wasn’t

She could have been greedy – but wasn’t – Tupperware

She could have been lustful like many of her predecessors stayed loyal to Prince Philip

She could have been envious – was not

She could have been wrathful – but she very seldom lost her temper

She could have been slothful – but the evidence is that she worked her whole life for no extra worth – for the nation – she kept up with her boxes

Surely she must have died safe in the poor man’s state of mind – and have been rewarded

Our late queen was basically and absolutely five-star granny – and a result was universally loved and respected everywhere she went.

She also had her faith which kept her up to the mark – she prayed every night

She had her routines of red boxes and royal obligations

Monastic life is full of similar supports. There is little opportunity to:

Be proud – because good monastics have nothing

To be greedy - because there is only simple food

To be lustful – because there is no opportunity

To be envious – because there in nothing to be envious of

To be angry – Because there is little opportunity

To be lazy - because the routine prohibited it

So, what about us – the lost! We must remember that in Matthew 6 Our Lord said “It is harder for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.”  gate)

I am a great believer and follower of the Franciscan Richard Rohr. This week’s daily podcast is dealing with the rich fruitfulness of the autumn of life. Older age. (https://cac.org/podcasts/)

The last periods of our lives provide us with space to reflect on life’s experiences – the opportunities taken and opportunities missed.  Opportunities to purge the physical clutter indulgence and self-seeking of our earlier years - and create space for reflection

Life really does give us the opportunity to be humble, charitable, grateful, temperate, patient, diligent and full of love.

If our Lord had been the rich man I have not the slightest doubt that he would have eaten with the poor man, regarded him an equal - and loved and provided for him as a brother

Crucially we can also remember that when Peter objected to the eye of the needle parable regarding - perhaps because he was rich - Jesus responded “but with God all things are possible.”

Let us hope and pray that this will be the case for us

In Jesus’s name Amen

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