The Gospel reading today about the rich man and Lazarus is somewhat heavy, or I think so at least. It almost seems to present an image of an unforgiving and merciless God. The responsorial Psalm however, repeats, “Blessed are they who hope in the Lord,” which calls to mind an image that is, well, hopeful! Trying to wrestle with these seemingly contradictory ideas, I came to find that the Gospel might mean more than I first thought. Upon further reflection I came to find, for me at least, that the Gospel actually presented a fair amount of hope. If I distance myself from identifying with Abraham and consider what is being said, it seems that God is saying the following: you can and will have eternal life if you serve/love those around you and listen to my promptings. God has told us what to do, sent Jesus as a flesh example, and continues to put “prophets” in our lives… now all we have to do is follow.
Of course, this message may not always be crystal clear, and the right thing may be very confusing at times… but from this comes hope.