If you’re like me, you occasionally catch yourself in your own self-centeredness and remember (for a moment,
anyway) that to be a disciple of Jesus Christ is to care for and to serve others.
Today’s gospel story is of the rich man who dined sumptuously each day while the poor man Lazarus (not the same Lazarus that Jesus raises from the dead in the gospel of John) languishes at his door. Lazarus is quite literally dying for scraps from the rich man’s table, and suffering the indignity of dogs licking his sores.
In the first reading, the prophet Amos warns “Woe to the complacent ... they shall be the first to go into exile, and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.” It’s a little unsettling, isn’t it? And so is the fate of the rich man who ends up in torment in the netherworld.
In today’s responsorial psalm we sing that the LORD:
How does the LORD accomplish these things today? He ascended into heaven 2000+ years ago. In the 16th Century, St. Teresa of Avila said it this way: “Christ has no body now but yours, no hands but yours to heal the wounded world; no eyes but yours to gaze with compassion; no feet but yours to walk this world with mercy and justice.”
So, when we are roused from our complacency and see the suffering of others around us, it is up to us to act, to care, to share. St. Paul says to Timothy in today’s second reading “I charge you before God, who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus ... to keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The commandment to which Paul refers could be the Great Commandment: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself.
Someone once said that the Word of God doesn’t just comfort the afflicted, it also afflicts the comfortable. I think this is one of those Sundays. Kyrie eleison!
Music and Liturgy Minister