God will judge the complacency of the people and their leaders.
Happy are those who find solace in God, the help of the poor.
1 Timothy 6:11-16
Paul exhorts Timothy to stay faithful to God in all things.
Jesus tells the parable of the reversal of fortunes between the rich man and the poor man, Lazarus.
Gospel LK 16:19-31
Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man’s table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
‘My child, remember that you received
what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go
from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’
He said, ‘Then I beg you, father,
send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers,
so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.’
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.’
He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'”
Background on the Gospel Reading
A major theme in the Gospel of Luke is the importance of the care of the poor in the life of discipleship. In the parable found in today’s Gospel, Jesus contrasts the life of a rich man and the poor man, Lazarus, who lives in the shadow of the rich man and his wealth. Both die. Lazarus finds himself in heaven; the rich man in the netherworld. The rich man asks for assistance from Lazarus in his torment. But Abraham reminds the rich man of the good things he had in his life and describes the current situation as a reversal of fortunes. The rich man then asks that Lazarus be sent to warn his family, but this is denied with the reminder that Moses and the prophets have warned of judgment for those who neglect the care of the poor.
In the context of Luke’s Gospel, this parable, delivered in the presence of a crowd of listeners, is part of Jesus’ response to some Pharisees. These Pharisees are described in Luke’s Gospel as “loving money.” (Note: The Pharisees were followers of a sect of Judaism active before, during, and after Jesus’ lifetime. They taught an oral interpretation of the Law of Moses as the basis for popular Jewish piety. They put less emphasis on Temple worship and more on applying the law to everyday life. Though they are often portrayed negatively in the Gospels, they shared many of Jesus’ and the early Church’s concerns about the law.) Jesus observed that the actions of some Pharisees betrayed misplaced priorities: they spoke one way, but acted in another. The story of the rich man and Lazarus demonstrates the importance of the care of the poor and is a reminder to those who would follow Jesus of the unimportance of wealth in the eyes of God.
Talk with your children about some of the things that they have that can be shared with others. Ask your children to describe a time when they had to share something that they had. Ask if this was easy or difficult and why. Talk about some of ways in which your family shares your possessions. Read together today’s Gospel, Luke 16:19-31. Consider together some reasons why the rich man may not have shared his riches with the poor man, Lazarus. Identify some reasons why we might share our possessions with others. Make a commitment as a family to do something this week in which you will choose to share your possessions with someone in need.
Sources: Loyola Press; Sunday Readings