September 25 – Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time : Who is the Lazarus in my life?

September 21st, 2016


First Reading  Amos 6:1,4-7
God will judge the complacency of the people and their leaders.

Responsorial Psalm  Psalm 146:7-10
Happy are those who find solace in God, the help of the poor.

Second Reading  1 Timothy 6:11-16
Paul exhorts Timothy to stay faithful to God in all things.

Gospel Reading
Luke 16:19-31


The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarushas left Bible readers wondering why the rich man had to go to hell. We are nottold he acquired his wealth by foul means or that he was responsible for thepoverty and misery of Lazarus or that he committed any crime or evil deed. Hewent to hell not for the things he did but for the things he didn't do. Weoften think that we sin by doing what we are not supposed to do -by thought,word and deed (i.e. the sin of commission). Today’s parable reminds us that thesin of omission can land someone in hell. The poor man Lazarus waslying at his gate. And the rich man simply couldn't care less. Of course he didnothing against Lazarus. But he has failed to do a good deed, failed to reachout and share a little of his blessings with someone in need. His sin is thatof omission, and for that he was going to roast in hell.


Another problem we have with this parableis why Lazarus went to heaven. This is the only parable of Jesus where thecharacter in the story has a name. So the name must be significant forinterpreting the parable. The name “Lazarus” means “God is my help.”Lazarus, therefore, is not just a poor man, but a poor man who believes andtrusts in God, which opens the gates of heaven to him.

The good news of this parable is this: Ifyou feel like a Lazarus right now, battered by sickness, poverty and pain,forgotten by society and by those whom God has blessed in this life, continuebelieving and trusting in God knowing that it will be well with your soul inthe end. If you see yourself as one of those blessed by God with the goodthings of life, open your door and see. Probably there is a Lazarus lying atyour gates and you have not taken notice.


These readings remind us that the law oflove (see John 15:12; Romans 13:8) means that each of us in some way will bejudged by the mercy we show to the poor. As the rich man learns in the parableof Lazarus - the distance between ourselves and God in the next life may be thedistance we put between ourselves and the poor in this life (see Matthew25:31-46; James 2:8,14-17).

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