26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C): Gospel – Luke 16:19-31
Today’s Gospel continues last Sunday’s theme of the right use of material goods, but takes it a step further: through the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, it personalizes the obligations that we have to one another – and warns us of the eternal consequences if we don’t act.
For the rich man didn’t deliberately decide to harm Lazarus; rather, his sin was more subtle. He simply neglected to come to his aid, although it was well within his ability to do so. His inaction thus fits the definition of sin as a “failure in genuine love for God and neighbor” (Catechism paragraph 1849):
How can we not recognize Lazarus, the hungry beggar in the parable, in the multitude of human beings without bread, a roof or a place to stay (2463)?
The drama of hunger in the world calls Christians who pray sincerely [‘Give us this day our daily bread’ in the Our Father] to exercise responsibility toward their brethren, both in their personal behavior and in their solidarity with the human family. This petition of the Lord’s Prayer cannot be isolated from the parables of the poor man Lazarus and of the Last Judgment (2831).
This parable speaks of a “final destiny of the soul – a destiny which can be different for some and for others,” and reiterates that “death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace” (1021).
Question for reflection: Who is the “Lazarus” in my own life, and how might I help?