In the Gospel for this week, we are told the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man. It is interesting to note that the rich man who “dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day” is not given a name in this story. But Lazarus, who “lay at the rich man’s doorstep, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table,” is given a name. This is an example of what we hear in the Magnificat of Mary, who says, “He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.”
Lazarus will eventually die and go to Heaven. The rich man will die and go to Hell.
Why did the rich man go to Hell? Was it because he was rich? No. Being rich is not a sin (although it is a near occasion of sin). Was it because he had gained his wealth dishonestly. No. We are not told that. The rich man goes to Hell because he does not care about Lazarus who is starving and dying.
There is only one other story of judgment and damnation in the Gospels. We find it in Matthew 25, where we hear Jesus say, “I was hungry and you did not give me food, thirsty and did not give me drink, naked and you did not clothe me, away from home and you did not welcome me, sick or in prison, and you did not visit me.” He goes on to say, “What you did not do for the least of my brothers and sisters, you did not do for Me. Into the fires prepared for Satan.”
One of the most important things we will be judged on is our concern for, or lack of concern for the poor. We must each hear this challenge from Jesus and allow our hearts to be shown the way.
–Fr. Mike Comer