The following reflection is by Fr.Tom Cahill
The Beano comic book for children used to sell in its early days for 2D. That's two pennies in old currency. Recently an edition of the first annual, from 1939, sold for $4,264. It was one of only 11 copies believed to be in existence. Just goes to show that what seems of little value today may be quite valuable tomorrow. It's good to prize things now, rather than regret later, perhaps.
That's certainly true of the rich man in today's Gospel (Luke 16:19-31). He didn't put much value on Lazarus at his doorstep begging each day. Later, when he sees how important Lazarus is, he comes to realise the error of his ways. But it's too late. This is not an easy parable to accept. It touches on things dark and deep: the condition of serious sinners after death. While he may not have harmed Lazarus during his lifetime, the rich man's heartless indifference to his plight was evil enough to land him in what we would call hell.
This is an unsettling parable. It's uncompromising in what it says. It poses too many problems to go into here, but it should stop me in my tracks. It's intended to. It forces me to ask questions I may not want to ask, questions that have little interest, immediacy, or value for me today, perhaps. But what about tomorrow? Certainly, one of those questions must be: do I take seriously the consequences of what I do, and don't do?
Is the thought of eternal damnation in any way for me like The Beano? Comical.