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26th Sunday

The gospel today speaks of two men – one is rich and the other is poor.

But the gospel is not about money or riches at all. The Bible does not support the idea that the poor always go to heaven, or that the rich always go to hell. Heaven is God’s offer to all.

Jesus’ parable shows the rich man going to hell, not because he was rich. It was because he did not pay attention to the suffering of the man just outside his door. He turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to the one who needed his help.

The gospel is about relationships. God is challenging us to form meaningful relationships with one another – to be concerned for one another, to take care of one another, to assist one another specially in moments of need.

If there is one sure way to lose the chance of going to heaven, then that is the way of indifference to the feelings, the pain, the burden of our neighbor.

Yet, how many people live lives of indifference, unperturbed by the situation of others around them?

There are parents who don’t care to ask about their children’s problems or their whereabouts at night. There are children who are cheerful and helpful and reliable to their friends but at home do nothing to help create a positive atmosphere.

There are people who identify themselves as friends in light, bright circumstances but are nowhere to be found in challenging, problematic situations. Even many neighbors are not present to each other when the going gets tough. So many people are indifferent to the feelings of others.

In the gospel, these two men are not only contrasted by their riches and poverty. Notice, that the one has a name and the other has none. The poor man is called Lazarus. Thought he is not important to the rich man, God declares him to be full of dignity. God is the champion of the poor, the sufferer. He is always our ally.

But the rich man thinks he is important because of his false security. In reality, because of his callousness, he is not important even to God whom he refuses to see in his neighbor. He does not have a name, because he is not worthy to be remembered except as a caution, a model to avoided.

Many think that the opposite of love is hatred. When I was a child, I remember my parish priest explain that the opposite of love is indifference, the lack of concern for others.

When was the last time you were sensitive to the needs and feelings of the people around you?