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Isaiah, our first reading today, warned those who have lives of comfort, but have little care for anyone else. He said, “Woe to the complacent in Zion!” These are the ones who lay in soft beds, eat fine foods, enjoy the finest entertainment, drink choice wines, and moisturize their skin with luxurious oils, but they could care less about the collapse of the world around them. Isaiah said, “Therefore, now they shall be the first to go into exile and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.”
Smug complacency and little care for the plight of others leads to doom. At least that is what Isaiah is hinting at.
Jesus also warned the rich who cared nothing for the poor. Today we read the parable about the rich man and Lazarus, the poor man who sat outside and suffered from painful sores. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus does not want to mention the rich man’s name, but he remembers to mention the name of the poor man, Lazarus?
The rich man died and was taken to a place of torment. Lazarus also died and was “carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.” How the tables have turned!
This is an example of Mary’s song in the Magnificat, “(God) has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty” (Luke 1:53).
Being wealthy is not sinful but being stingy with our wealth is. Being comfortable in this life isn’t sinful, but not helping another person who is suffering next to us is.
Jesus, risen from the dead, asks us to use our gifts at the service of others. That means that those of us who live lives of comfort must not become so lost in our own private world that we fail to realize that we share it with others.
I am privileged to be a part of the Diocese of Cleveland, where I have witnessed so many people share their blessings in order to be a blessing for others. May God reward this kindness for all of us.
Have a blessed week everyone.