Twenty-Sixth Sunday In Ordinary Time

DSCN0620Who doesn’t dream of hitting the lottery? of being so wealthy that life would have no worries? of being able to retire young with complete security? Given the choice, who of us would not choose to be rich?
Lazarus in today’s Gospel story is not the same Lazarus that Jesus raised from the dead, the brother of Mary and Martha. This Lazarus was a poor beggar at the door of a rich man. Today’s Gospel story is a classic one often told as a lesson on life after death. The rich man dies and goes to a place of torment, while the hungry Lazarus goes to heaven. But having read some Scripture commentaries, perhaps we might consider judging the rich man, not because of his wealth, but because of his lack of compassion. The real issue of the gospel, however, is not about riches or poverty. It is about how we respond to the person lying at our door.
Consider this: even after he dies, the rich man still doesn’t get it! He’s still expecting others to do his bidding. He’s not a bad guy, he just doesn’t know any other way of life.
This gospel contrasts two life circumstances: rich or poor, basking in abundance or living in misery.
It also contrasts two choices about how we relate to others: self-centered or
other-centered. We often have little control over our life circumstances. But we have complete control over how we choose to relate to others.
It is not only self-absorbed rich people who walk by those in need. How do we respond to the cashier in the grocery store? the wait staff in a restaurant? the housekeeping staff who cleans our hotel room? Sometimes we might be surprised by who is lying at our door. Like the rich man in the gospel, our response determines how we will spend eternity.