Photo illustration by Phil Younk
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Be ready to help, share with others

Based on Am 6:1a, 4-7, 1 Tm 6:11-16, Lk 16:19-3

Every day, the news media relay reports, advertisements and commercials about homeless, needy people in our city and country, or poor, displaced people, especially children, in countries across the globe. We are told about the spiritual and physical needs of these suffering people and we’re asked to help.

The “haves” and “have nots” are highlighted in this Sunday’s readings – clearly calling us to take the teachings of our faith seriously and to practice them daily.

In the Gospel, Jesus tells the beautiful and challenging parable about Lazarus and the rich man. Jesus isn’t blaming the man for being rich. He is blamed for not sharing and caring. It isn’t that the rich man did anything wrong to Lazarus. He simply didn’t do the good he could have done – a sin of omission.

Jesus tells us to help the poor and needy. We don’t respond to Jesus’ teaching just by helping them. We also need to check our attitudes toward them. Do we think of ourselves as different or separate from them?

Jesus wants us to see others as he sees them. He doesn’t look at us in separate groups – rich or poor, color of our skin, educated or uneducated, country we live in, team or club membership we hold and so on. He sees all people as created by God and all called to be his children – to love God and others.

Every day, somewhere and in some way, we meet someone who needs our time, attention, care and kindness. We need to be ready to help and share. Pope Francis continually calls us to compassionately and mercifully help the poor and marginalized.

All we say and do on earth will decide whether or not we share eternal happiness in heaven like Lazarus, or we pay for our selfishness and lack of love and mercy like the rich man.

Now, who is really the rich man and the poor man in this Sunday’s Gospel?