Our scripture of this weekend is about “ownership”; owning what we do and being re-sponsible for our actions. In our culture of today, most folks always seem to be able to find someone else or some other institution to be responsible. We only claim ownership if we are successful and famous. We do not get concerned at all about being responsible and decent people on a daily basis.
In our Old Testament reading, we learn that Amos is distraught about the complacent irresponsibility and indifference of both the wealthy and affluent. The prophet issues a warning to the rich of their imminent catastrophe and possible sudden reversal in for-tune. Ironically all the excessive gifts in which they have wallowed in unrestrained style will become the means of their end. They are all about “me” which will place them far down the road to doom and alienation.
The Gospel story has two locations: this world and the next. The start of the story is here and now, and then the story ends in the hereafter. Notice that the main character’s positions are flipped at the end. In the end, Lazarus does not stay outside at the gate for he is now in the bosom of Abraham. The rich man who had been at a great banquet ta-ble is at the end outside yearning for anything that would help him. This is all quite the reversal.
The intent of both the first reading and the Gospel reading is to wake us up to life. We are to recognize by this scripture that the end times are coming for each one of us at some point and we need to live lives of responsibility and faith.
Do you wonder why was the rich man punished so severely? Why is this wonderful and hospitable Abraham all of a sudden so strict? The Gospel does not tell us that the rich man was responsible for Abraham’s poverty and suffering, or in fact that he even knew Abraham was suffering in dire circumstances. The rich man is not punished because of some act he did or failed to do; rather he is punished because the suffering of Abraham never even occurred to him as even a possibility. This man could only see all about him-self and his fine life; he failed to recognize that he needed to take responsibility for his gifts and treasures and share them with others in need. He needed to look beyond his well-being to the well-being of other people because his wealth and comfort were not meant to be only about himself.
In our first reading and the Gospel, we learn that we are being invited by God to share our gifts. We cannot be complacent simply because we have enough and fail to see that others do not. Whatever we have in our lives from our work and effort, we must make sure to generously share this all with others.
In our first reading and the Gospel, we learn that we are being invited by God to share our gifts. We cannot be complacent simply because we have enough and fail to see that others do not. Whatever we have in our lives from our work and effort, we must make sure to generously share this all with others.BACK TO LIST