Gospel Cycle C
Jesus said to the Pharisees: “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’ Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours. He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’ He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’”
Reflexion- Am I concerned about what happens to others? The readings today teach us clearly that we must have concern about what happens to others. And so often we don’t have that concern. So often our following of Christ concerns itself only with what happens to us or to our immediate family and friends. Jesus wants us to keep our eyes, our ears and our hearts open to the suffering of others.
The Gospel shows us that it is too late to think about this after we have already died. The moral of that story is now is the time to think about how our way of life and how our actions and thoughts affect others. Don’t wait! Right now we must begin to think.
Lots of people today push the rest of us to think about ecological issues and about how our use of the physical realities of this world affects others. This is an important consideration. Surely, however, it is even more important to think about how all of our moral decisions touch the lives of others, how our decisions in politics affect others, how our decisions about wars and taxes and immigration affect others also. The point of a homily is never to push one point of view but to insist that we must listen to the Word of God and then use that Word as our guide in making decisions about every aspect of our lives, both personal and in community and in our relationships with our world.
Today the Word of God insists in the first reading from the Prophet Amos that those who have a very comfortable life and ignore the needs of others will eventually have to live with the results of that uncaring attitude. The Gospel from Saint Luke reflects the same teaching: we cannot ignore that which is in front of us: we must listen to the cry of the poor and the oppressed.
The Scriptures don’t give us an easy answer because there never is an easy answer to the cry of the poor and the oppressed. Each of us must take the time to listen to that cry first and then try to respond to the cry. We can remember Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta who never felt a call to change the social system but did feel a call to try to help those who were dying. Other saints and blessed have responded in different ways and some have tried to change social systems. The challenge is simply to respond to the Word of the Lord.
We can hear the Lord calling us today to respond in the same way described in the second reading, from the First Letter to Timothy: pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. May our gentle Lord Jesus give us this desire and the strength to pursue it.