Dives and Lazarus: A Poverty of Riches
Father Hanly’s homily for 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, is on the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. It is short but beautiful.
Readings for Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
- First Reading: Amos 6:1, 4-7
- Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 146:7, 8-9, 9-10
- Second Reading: First Timothy 6:11-16
- Gospel: Luke 16:19-31
Dives and Lazarus lived in different worlds. Dives dressed in purple robes; Lazarus dressed in rags. Dives ate in splendor every day; Lazarus didn’t eat at all. Dives lived in a palace; Lazarus lived on the streets. Dives was a healthy man; Lazarus’s poor body was covered with sores.
Their worlds lay side by side, but the rich man never once entered the poor man’s world. Dives didn’t see Lazarus as a fellow human being, much less as a brother with whom to share a common humanity. The rich man was indifferent to the poor man, and indifference is the greatest of evils, the worst curse of all.
The rich man did not do anything harmful or wrong, and yet he ends up in the netherworld, the place of the dead, not because of what harm he had done, but because he did nothing to show his concern for Lazarus. He lived only for himself.
If the truth be told, poor Dives was suffering from the worst kind of poverty — a poverty of heart. His heart was empty, devoid of all compassion and love.
The rich man is wounded and crippled by his riches, just as the poor man is wounded and crippled by his poverty.
In the words of Mother Teresa: “The greatest evil in our world is the lack of love — the terrible indifference towards one’s neighbour which seems to be getting more and more widespread with each new day.”
As people who stand in daily need of God’s mercy and goodness, who pray as with hands outstretched with beggars’ bowls, let us in turn try to be kind, generous, and merciful with others, because the measure by which we measure others will be the measure that we shall receive in return.
We close this homily with the familiar antiphon from 1 John 3:16 where he mentions that Christ’s death is a model for our love.
“By this we came to know the love of God:
that Christ laid down his life for us;
so we ought to lay down our lives for one another.”