(From the Bulletin of Sts. Joachim and Ann Catholic Church, September 25, 2016)
Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
There are two characters who dominate the Gospel this week: a very selfish rich man unnamed, and a very humble poor man named Lazarus. The scene opens on the street in front of the rich man’s front door. There lies the beggar, Lazarus, in tattered clothes that scarcely cover his open sores. The door opens, and the well-fed guests emerge, laughing loudly as they depart from their daily banquet. Then the rich man comes out. Having bid good-bye to the last guest, he decides to take an evening walk. Like his guests, he steps over the beggar, not even looking at him. He doesn't kick or abuse him. He just doesn't pay any attention.
The next scene is some years later. In the upper right, we see Lazarus in heavenly glory, courted by the angels, reclining at table with the patriarch, Father Abraham. In the lower left, we see the former rich man, in the torments of hell, looking longingly at the heavenly feast in the distance.
Why is he in hell? Not because he is rich, for Jesus, in telling the story never condemns him for that. Why, then? Precisely because he never thought to share his riches with this poor beggar, who lay outside his door day after day; He never offered him some of the leftovers, never inquired about his health, never offered him employment. What a difference he could have made in the life of Lazarus. He might have gotten to know him better, and given help to Lazarus' wife and children. Who knows? They might even have become friends!
In the first reading, the prophet Amos paints a similar picture of the wealthy rulers of Israel, lying on their beds of ivory and drinking wine from bowls, completely oblivious to the near-collapse of the kingdom. Again, God is condemning their indifference, their selfishness, their lack of discipline, and their disobedience to His commandments.
As Pope Francis has repeatedly urged us, our world is in crisis. We all must develop a new boldness in sharing, in love, both our material goods and the spiritual riches of our precious Catholic faith.
Fr. Louis Kemayou, Pastor