LAZARUS AT OUR GATES
In today’s readings, Amos warns God’s chosen people that they have forgotten their divine benefactor ‘God’ and have thought only of themselves and their own comfort, he also tells them that this God of the poor was not happy with the current neglect and exploitation of the poor by the powerful.
In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, we see the same neglect of the poor and the needy. The rich man had everything a man could desire on earth, but clearly visible to him he had a beggar in dire need whom he neglected to attend to.
The rich man on facing his last judgement, knows that he has no one to blame but himself, he is also ashamed of his bad example that would lead his siblings to a similar fate as his.
This rich man is in eternal torment because he let his wealth on earth become his master and forgot God and his neighbour, he also neglected his own welfare – ‘Eternal Life.’
It’s a reminder to us that our stay on this earth is of a very short duration and we must not act as if we have a permanent home here.
We often recite in the Creed: “I believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.” Yet, we can be so busy in our day to day routines that we do not have a moment to spare for the things that really matter: our future and unending life after death.
The readings of today call us to love and uphold our dignity and the dignity of all people who are equally made in the ‘IMAGE AND LIKENESS OF GOD’ and to set our hopes on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. We are called to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for ourselves treasures in heaven.
The readings also give us some insight as to how God feels about humankind’s lack of charity. It is often said that “Charity covers many sins,” but charity is not just giving money to the poor. We can extend charity in our speech and our actions aside from money.
We have many Lazarus’s sitting at our gates! Acknowledging them and being aware of their need gives us the opportunity to exercise loving and generous charity. We are called to be true brothers and sisters to them.
Fortunately for us there are many organized charities that through our resourcing are able to provide funds and food parcels etc to help those less fortunate. So, the question we need to ask ourselves is: “If God asked me today for an account of my time, talents, and treasures, how would I respond?’ Something to think and pray about during this week.
Fr George Carlos