May the peace of Christ reign in our heart…
Today’s Gospel passage is a study in contrasts and Jesus goes out of his way to make it so.
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 are both children of God in radically different places.
We really don’t know much more about them.
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.
All we really know is that he was poor and that he made it to heaven.
The rich man is not mean.
He doesn’t treat Lazarus disrespectfully.
He doesn’t kick him or taunt him when he passes by.
He even seems to have a twinge of compassion for others, because even in hell, he is worried about his brothers.
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 feeling for the poor or those in need, even those in desperate straits like Lazarus.
The rich man had squandered away or lost his human 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 they were invisible.
How sad, how tragic it is when a heart goes cold.
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 did not notice, and he did not act.
You know sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking that the only time we sin is when we do something wrong.
So often we forget that we also sin when we fail to do something good.
Yes sin isn’t only something we do but also something we fail to do.
Very few people confess sins of omission.
You see, we sin when we fail to do what love calls us to do.
We sin when we don’t notice and we don’t act.
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 optional.
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 out 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 heart strings and call us to service.
May the Gospel this week call 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.
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