Let’s look at this by seeing who you are in this story. Don’t forget that just about all gospel stories act as a “mirror,” and you can see yourself clearly if you put on your “honesty” glasses. So maybe you associate yourself with the poor old beggar Lazarus, or maybe the rich man Dives. If you say “neither,” then you just might need to clean your eyeglasses.
Too many times we fall into the “trap” of making “Self” the centre of our lives. We become self-satisfied, just like the people of Northern Israel were doing at the time of the Prophet Amos. We hear in the First Reading (Amos 6:1a, 4-7) that the rich were simply ignoring the poor, one of the worst injustices that can happen to a person or to a level of society.
Is it possible for us to think that once we put our money in the plate for the Sunday collection, we’ve taken care of the poor? Not necessarily so. Do you know if your Parish even gives part of the parish income to the poor sector? How much, in fact, does your Parish give to the poor from that collection basket? An attitude of “Indifference” – the sin of Dives – might say, “that’s Father’s problem.” Not so! Dives represents each one of us, whenever we become indifferent to the plight of the poor in any way whatsoever.
If you think rich Dives got what he deserved, take a closer look into that mirror of scripture. Recognise anyone? If not, God bless you for your generosity and kind heart! If you do recognise yourself, it’s never too late to care for God’s special ones, the materially poor – that’s the Good News for each one of us. A final question for us: who is “spiritually” poor in this gospel story, and in our personal life story?
Insincere ignorance and hardness of heart do not lower the voluntary character of sin. The parables of Lazarus and the Last Judgment, as related to the “daily bread” petition in the Lord’s Prayer, cannot be isolated from our Christian responsibility towards our needy brothers and sisters.