The Rich Man and Lazarus
Heaven or hell? Have’s and have-not’s! The story of the rich man clothed in purple and the beggar, Lazarus! Have you ever been amazed at which one actually has a name in this story? Surprised?
The story of the rich man and Lazarus invites us to reflect on some harsh realities in life today. What was your first reaction to hearing the Gospel story? With whom did you identify? Why? And now, think about what it would be like to be the other character.
When I read or hear this Gospel, I think of so many who are brought to our doors, to the end of the table—those who need assistance even to get there. And what is our response? To offer scraps? To identify with the poor, the sick, the victims of injustice? To understand the plight of the sex-trafficked woman, the homeless and mentally ill? To work for change, for conversion of attitudes that make us indifferent to the plight of our brothers and sisters? To be advocates? To be change agents?
The reading from Amos warns us about our attitudes that say “we deserve” our blessings. When we truly realize that everything we have and everything we are is a gift from God, we can begin to live with all women and men as our brothers and sisters. And we can know, perhaps for the first time, that we are simply neighbors who never met.