Lord Jesus, you became poor so that we might be made rich, Lord have mercy,
Christ Jesus, you teach us to recognize you in the poor, Christ have mercy,
Lord Jesus, you invite us to share our wealth, Lord have mercy,
May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and brig us to everlasting life. Amen.
Amos 6:1, 4-7; 1 Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16:19-31
Wealth and richness is neither a sin, nor a crime, but is a very dangerous sickness, causing blindness.
Jesus is concerned with both, rich and poor -- and perhaps more with the rich since the poor are less in danger! God wants to save the rich from their wealth.
The sin of the rich man in today’s gospel was not that he ordered Lazarus removed from his property. It wasn’t that the rich man kicked Lazarus or shouted obscenities at him as he passed him.
· The sin of the rich man was simply that he never noticed Lazarus. He accepted him as a part of the landscape of life.
· The sin of the rich man was that he accepted, without question, the fact that Lazarus was poor and he himself was rich.
· The sin of the rich man was that he neglected even the possibility of helping Lazarus.
· The sin of the rich man was not a sin of commission, that is, doing something he shouldn’t have done.
· The sin of the rich man was a sin of omission, that is, not doing something he should have done.
· The sin of the rich man was basking in his own personal wealth and not lifting a finger to help Lazarus in his dire need.
· The sin of the rich man was the same sin that is being committed over and over today.
· The sin of the rich man was not exactly the sin but something more serious, a sickness actually he was blind.
· And it is this sin or rather this sickness that is beginning to cause grave concern not only because of what it is doing to the poor but also because of what it is doing to society, to all of us.
John F. Kennedy referred to this concern when he said:
“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.’’
In other words, our lack of concern for the poor is destroying not only the poor but also the very moral fabric of our society.
Today’s gospel is an invitation. It’s an invitation to meditate on the story of the rich man and Lazarus and to ask ourselves the question:
How can we live a happy life while so many other people are suffering?
It’s an invitation to meditate on the words of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, who said:
“Every gun that is made,
every warship launched,
every rocket fired,
signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.’’
It’s an invitation to take to heart the words of Jesus in today’s gospel.
Let’s close with these words of Pope John Paul II. He delivered them during his first visit to the United States in a homily at Yankee Stadium in New York on October 2, 1979.
The Holy Father said:
“We cannot stand idly by, enjoying our own riches and freedom, if in any place the Lazarus of the 20th century stands at our doors. In the light of the parable of Christ, riches and freedom mean a special responsibility. Riches and freedom create a special obligation.”
A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something. As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag's side door! He slammed on the brakes and backed the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown.
The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked car shouting,
"What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you doing? That's a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?"
The young boy was apologetic. "Please, mister...please, I'm sorry but I didn't know what else to do," He pleaded. "I threw the brick because no one else would stop...."
With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car. "It's my brother, "he said "He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him up." Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, "Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He's hurt and he's too heavy for me."
Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out a linen handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts. A quick look told him everything was going to be okay.
"Thank you and may God bless you," the grateful child told the stranger.
Too shook up for words, the man simply watched the boy push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home. It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar. The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message:
"Don't go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention!"
Some shameful statistics from the book of Patrick Viveret: “Reconsidérer la richesse”
• We need 6 billion dollars yearly to assure the education for all children in the world who are not yet in school
• At the same time only in Europe, people spend annually 8 billion dollars on perfumes.
• Nearly 1 billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.
• The world needs 13 billion dollars annually to feed all who are hungry
• At the same time in the USA, 25 billion dollars is spent each year on pet food
• Each day some 30 thousand children under the age of 5 are dying due to poverty. That is about 210,000 children each week, or just under 11 million children under five years of age, each year.
• Each day in France with a population of 63 million, 60 thousand tons of food goes to the garbage
Global Priority $U.S. (Billions)
Basic education for all 6 billion
Water and sanitation for all 9 billion
Reproductive health care for all 12 billion
Basic health and nutrition 13 billion
Total 40 billion
Military spending in the world 780 billion
only in USA 550 billion
• The world is able to feed the population of 16 billion people (currently we are about 6 billion)
• The problem is not overpopulation but the unequal distribution of goods.
• “The problem is not in demography but in lack of ethics” (Pope John Paul II)
20% of the population in the developed nations consumes 86% of the world’s goods.
Military spending in the world – 780 billion dollars
Drugs – 400 billion dollars
Alcohol (only in Europe) – 105 billion
Cigarettes (only in Europe) – 50 billion
Leisure (only in Japan) – 35 billion
Pet’s food only in USA – 25 billion
To feed all hungry during a year – 13 billion
Perfumes in USA and in Europe – 12 billion
Ice-cream only in Europe – 11 billion
Water for all in the world who don’t have it yet – 9 billion
School for all children who are not yet in school- 6 billion
The failure of the rich man to come to the aid of the poor man Lazarus is a call for all of us to recognise that our neighbour is anyone and everyone in need. On this Social Justice Sunday we pray for a true spirit of justice and mercy within the human family
Lord Jesus, you have made every man, woman and child, your neighbor, worthy of your love. Help us to embrace one another in the spirit of your universal and unconditional love, for you are Lord, for ever and ever.