Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Sunday Word

Am 6:1a, 4-7
1 Tm 6:11-16
Lk 16:19-31

This Sunday's Gospel will certainly cause our imaginations to ask many questions. Where did the rich man’s wealth come from? Did he inherit it? Did he work hard for it; go to night school for years to get a good career? Did he invest wisely and now was enjoying the fruits of his investments?

It's funny because the parable never really answers any of those questions. It only tells us that he "received what was good" in his lifetime.

It doesn’t say that God was the source of his wealth; that God blessed him with many riches. Some say the rich man was evil; that he was an inside trader and his money came from making shrewd investments while ordinary folk lost theirs; that he owned sweatshops and payed his employees less than a living wage, while he got rich. What did he do to justify his final condition? Nothing. He simply ignored the desperate man at his doorstep. How many times did he go out for business or pleasure and return home to ignore the miserable creature and those dogs at his doorstep? The rich man didn’t do anything evil, at least we are not told that. He simply ignored the poor man and that put him on the other side into the next life.

At Sunday's Eucharistic celebration we pray, "Anoint my hands and eyes to see the ones you want me to help." Then we should keep an eye out for those "Lazarus people," the ones God sends to us for help. It is in the hungry, the naked, the sick and the imprisoned, that we will meet Jesus, as surely as we meet him again at this Eucharist.