“Neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.”

The gospel for this Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Lk 16:19-31) gives us the famous story Jesus tells of the Rich Man and Lazarus.  In life, the rich man (sometimes called Dives which simply means “rich”) shows no concern for the poor, sick man Lazarus.  When both die, Dives begs Abraham, with whom Lazarus is now seated, to give him some relief in his torment.  This not being possible, Dives begs the patriarch to send Lazarus to warn his brothers so they do not suffer the same fate.  Abraham’s response concludes with the words in the headline.

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Jesus is not only alluding to His forthcoming death and resurrection but also the raising of Lazarus (Jn 11:1-44), which likely had happened already since Lazarus is mentioned by name.  In both cases, some hearts were moved, but many were not only not moved but further hardened.  Two thousand years have passed and little has changed.  The gospel message has spread the world over yet, while adherents to Christianity outnumber any other individual religion, Christians make up less than one-third of the population of our planet.  So, a significant majority have not been persuaded to this day that Jesus is the Risen Savior.

This calls for a renewed and intensive evangelization to be sure.  But renewal starts at home.  When Christians live what they profess (holy), and are unified in doing so (one), then the Church can become catholic (that is, universal) as it becomes once again faithful to its roots (apostolic).  Divided Christians not following the Lord’s commands are a scandal to the world.

Let us each pray for ongoing conversion of hearts (first and foremost ours, then others) so that we become shining examples to our culture of authentic Christianity and accelerate the arrival of the Kingdom as we pray for every time we say the Our Father (Mt 6:10 — in fact, this prayer is an excellent manual for living a holy life).

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