May the peace of Christ reign in our heart…
In Today’s Gospel
The rich man eats sumptuously, and dresses extravagantly.
It is obvious that he has everything he needs and everything he wants.
He is comfortable and satisfied.
For him Life is good.
Lazarus the poor man is so weak he simply lies in the street and he can’t even push away the dogs when they lick his wounds.
He is so hungry that he would have gladly eaten anything, even the scraps that fell from the rich man table. They didn’t have paper towels back then and they didn’t have silverware so they would eat with their hands and the rich used chunks of bread to wipe their hands clean.
They are both children of God in radically different places.
We really don’t know much more about them. /
There were always scraps of food and bread around the table of a rich person.
Jesus doesn’t give us much more detail because it really doesn’t matter.
We don’t know if Lazarus was lazy or just down on his luck.
We don’t’ know if he was smart or not smart.
We don’t know if he was addicted or not addicted.
We don’t know if his poverty was his fault or not.
We don’t know…. and like I said it really doesn’t matter.
Actually there are really only two things that we know about him.
He was poor and he was a good man because he made it into heaven
sadly being poor by itself is not a ticket into heaven.
Rich or poor to get into heaven you have to good person a loving person.
The rich man is not mean.
He doesn’t treat Lazarus disrespectfully.
He doesn’t kick him or taunt him when he passes by.
So what is is sin?
Plain and simply put the rich man just didn’t seem to notice Lazarus.
You see he had grown so comfortable that he became self absorbed.
In fact, he had grown so self centered that he didn’t have any feelings for the poor or those in need, even those in desperate straits like Lazarus.
The rich man had squandered away or lost the ability to feel for others,
to pity others,
to have compassion on others.
In the eyes of the rich man,
those less fortunate,
those who just couldn’t seem to get their act together,
just didn’t matter it was like they were invisible.
How sad, how tragic it is when a heart goes so cold that they no longer have compassion.
How sad indeed!
The rich man’s sin is a sin of omission,
and yet it is a serious sin, a sin that cost him eternal life.
He just did not notice Lazarus, and he did not act.
You know sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking that the only time we sin is when we actually do something wrong.
So often we forget that we also sin when we fail to do something good.
It is so important for us to remember that
we sin when we fail to do what love calls us to do.
We sin when we don’t notice or just don’t care about others.
At the beginning of this mass we prayed the Confiteor or the “I confess prayer”
Please repeat it with me…
I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned through my own fault
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done,
and in what I have failed to do;
We have prayed those words over and over again…
May their meaning sink into our hearts
May they change us and transform us…
May they transform our parish, and our town, our state, and our nation.
Loving our neighbor is not something we do when it’s convenient.
Being compassionate to those in need, anyone in need, is not an option for a follower of Christ.
May our hearts never grow cold.
May we never lose our ability to feel for others,
to be kind to others and merciful to others no matter what.
May the needs of the poor and the weak always pull at our heartstrings and call us to service.
The Gospel this week calls us to examine ourselves,
and ask ourselves…
What have I done for poor, and the outcast, the lonely, and the sick?
Am I able to look beyond my own world my own interests, my own concerns…
…Lest someday we stand before God and say I’m sorry Lord I simply didn’t notice.