There is a kind of wealth which makes people poor; it is the wealth gained through injustice, dishonesty, indifference or competition. It is a kind of wealth which turns people away from God and which makes a person poor inside and impoverishes other people, since it is not the result of a desire of real well-being but of injustice and prevarication.
Was the rich man of the parable suffering torment in eternal flames because he was rich, dressed in fine linen and dining sumptuously every day? No. if he was, it would mean that we should be miserable and covered with sores like Lazzarus to avoid eternal torment. It is absurd and against the Gospel even just imaging that God, our sweet Father, would desire this. Nevertheless this belief has subtly insinuated itself into many cultures and teologies throughout history.
The rich man begs Abraham to let his brothers know they need to behave differently to avoid eternal flames. What should Abraham tell his brothers? That wealth leads to hell? That being rich, dining well, having fun, being dressed well with beautiful clothes is the sure way to suffer in the next world forever? No, according to the Bible, the Prophets, the Gospel this is not what is contemplated, on the contary, abundance, eating milk and honey have always been the symbols of God's benevolence, approval and presence. By chance or by precise will, this blasphemy against the Gospel has nevertheless been passed along for centuries. According to this perverse belief, poverty and misery are divinely necessary; they are sacred and blessed means to attain heaven. This corrupt belief has guaranteed excessive and obscene wealth to a few to the detriment of everyone else. What should Abraham have said to the brothers of the rich man? Become poor? Or, stay rich, but help poor Lazarus to cure his wounds? Give the bread on your table to the poor? So what should we do to avoid eternal damnation? Be rich and do charitable works or be poor and wait for the changing of the guard of eternal life, where the poor become rich and they stay in heaven and the rich become poor and stay in hell?
The problem is not wealth, the complete well-being that all men, women, and children should normally enjoy; the problem is that the wealth of the rich man is the result of competition, cheating, injustice, indifference, war, death and blood. It is a perverse and deadly wealth because it is causing the sores and the hunger of Lazarus. It is a wealth that does not serve man, but which is needed to become famous, powerful, greater than the others. It serves to satisfy one's needs and pleasures in an inhuman manner and without dignity. It is not enough that this corrupt wealth be charitable in order to redeem itself. A change of perspective, a change of vision, a divine inspiration are required. We can all be rich; everyone needs to eat, to work to attain their dreams, to have a nice roof over their heads, to sleep in a protected, warm environment. Many sustain that there are not enough resources and wealth for all men and that the world would collapse if everyone lived a rich healthy life. It is a terrible lie and a blasphemy against the greatness and magnificence of God and his creation. It is this corrupt vision that generates obscene wealth and obscene poverty. This vision is part of a project whose aim is to defend the power of the rich and to ensure the resignation of the poor. This vision creates competition, anger; it makes us thieves and crooks, indifferent and arrogant. Everyone runs desperately to grab the best piece of land because we have been made to believe that the best land is exiguous, rare or has already been assigned by fate. If it were true that the earth cannot offer real well-being to all men, that would mean that our life is a stupid and useless race for survival. This thought generates conflicts, wars, destruction and forces people to live their lives in the spiritual state of envy and jealousy, in a condition of failure and misery. What Abraham could have told the rich man's brothers is that the aim of God's Word is to inspire man to a new vision of life, a new vision of wealth and well-being, a new way to reach all the beauty of life and the splendor of divine generosity. A new vision of life in which creativity, genius, science, knowledge, discoveries are at the service of humanity for the real well-being of everyone. A new vision inspired by the men of the Holy Spirit who have the duty to teach and to inspire their brothers that living well, healthy and happily is definitly God's desire and that if they learn to desire it properly it is absolutely possible.
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