Sunday, September 29, 2013

It is not enough to be compassionate; you must act.

"Make us worthy, Lord, to serve those throughout the world who live and die in poverty or hunger. Give them, through our hands, this day their daily bread; and by our understanding love, give peace and joy. Amen." ~ Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Gospel Text: (LK 16:19-31)
Jesus said to the Pharisees:
"There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man's table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.'
Abraham replied,
'My child, remember that you received
what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go
from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’
He said, 'Then I beg you, father,
send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers,
so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.'
But Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.'
He said, 'Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
Then Abraham said, 'If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'"

Faith is not an idle or passive thing, and it requires more than simply believing. Our faith should be an active thing that shapes how we go about our days and touches the lives of others. We are often satisfied with the status quo if things are comfortable for us, but our readings today tell us “woe to the complacent” (Am 6:1A). Living out one’s faith often requires hard work and reaching out to care for those who suffer. We must consciously choose our actions in light of what will bring the most glory to God and “compete well for the faith” (1 Tm 6:12). When it comes to caring for others, we must remember that Christ dwells in all of us and let that fact guide our service to others. In today’s Gospel, the rich man should have recognized that Lazarus was made in God’s image like himself and at least given him some of his excess food to help him out. We may think that we treat others much better than the rich man treats Lazarus, but it is often times the case that we only aid others when it is convenient for us to do so. However, Christ did not just help people when it was convenient or easy for him to do so and neither should we.

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