This week’s readings, as well as last week, really doesn’t allow us to be too comfortable, does it? When the Prophet Amos speaks and condemns those who are on this bed of ivory, on this luxury, and they’re selfishly eating sumptuously and forgetting those that are around them, Amos says…the prophet says, “Their revelry will be done away with.”
Well, we see this clearly in the luxury of today’s rich man presented in the gospel. We see him dining sumptuously, and he has rich garments on, purple garments, and linen, very fancy. And right there, on the opposite end of his doorway, right there on the other side of the doorway, is the other man, Lazarus, who is not covered with nice clothes or garments, but the scripture tells us that he’s covered with sores, and he’s in misery. And even the dogs have the common sense to tend to him and to lick his sores and to bring him healing, but not so with the rich man. They’re at two opposite ends, yet so close between the doorway. And yet, after they both die, notice how the great chasm exists between them, and it is the rich man who calls out, “Father Abraham, have pity on me.”
We see this important lesson that Jesus presents to all of us, really, is the importance of not ignoring poverty but addressing the issues of the poor among us. We, of course, have seen that the face of poverty is very much present in our world today and takes on many different shapes and forms in different ways. We see it in the lack of food and adequate shelter. We have malnutrition. We see poverty, and of course, in homelessness. We see it also in the lack of healthcare or in education and a lack of morality. There are many different aspects to poverty which we should address.
Thanks to Pope Francis, has really helped us address these issues of poverty and really challenges us to help alleviate the suffering of the poor and not to neglect them. And this month in the canonization of Mother Teresa, Saint Mother Teresa, of course, Pope Francis was an admirer of her and her great ministry and her great teaching and her great outreach to the poorest of the poor. These two great figures today are really great champions of what we can do as followers of Christ today in recognizing the face of poverty around us and responding with generosity, not letting there be a big gap between us, but to bridge that gap with the gifts of mercy, with the gifts of charity.
So, today, on this Sunday, when we gather for the celebration of the Eucharist, let us recognize that God calls us to be generous, generous with what He has given us, generous with what our gifts and our talents and our treasures and to reach out to those who are poor and those who are in need. And so, not to turn the page away from the uncomfortable, not to turn the channel to a happier channel, but to focus on the needs of those who are truly in need, and it should concern our hearts as well. So we ask our Lord to bless us and to guide us this day and to help us to be generous with His love.