Sunday Gospel reflections: Taking Jesus’ warning to heart

Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

"The Rich Man and the Poor Lazarus" by Hendrick Jansz ter Brugghen, 1625. Photo: Public Domain
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Sunday’s Gospel shows us both sides of the story.

The rich man has it all — clothes, food, shelter, money, status, and power. Lazarus has nothing. I have always taken Lazarus’ side, and am pleased that he is rewarded in the end. After all, who wants to see themselves in that selfish rich man?

Then I look around. I do not think of myself as rich, but I do have clothes, food, shelter, money, status, and a certain amount of power. There are people like Lazarus at my gate. I pause, then read the rest of the story.

Like the words from Amos in the First Reading, and like the psalm, it’s about justice. Not limited, near-sighted earthly justice. No, God’s justice, where those who suffer are chosen first and lifted up to be with the angels. Meanwhile, the ones who have it easy on earth must look their hard-heartedness right in the eye.

The rich man ran out of time before he could change his ways. But it’s not too late for me to “pursue righteousness” and take “hold of eternal life,” as St. Paul urges St. Timothy to do. Unlike the rich man’s brothers would be, I am convinced to move forward because someone rose from the dead for me and for all of us.

 — Anne Louise Mahoney


Readings:

Amos 6:1A, 4-7

Psalm 146:7, 8-9, 9-10

1 Timothy 6:11-16

Luke 16:19-31

“The Rich Man and the Poor Lazarus” by Hendrick Jansz ter Brugghen, 1625. Photo: Public Domain

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