26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Jesus tells another parable today. This one is about two very different men.
One man is very poor. His name is Lazarus.
Names are important in the Bible. They tell us:
who someone is,
who they belong to,
and what they will do.
Lazarus means, "God is my help." So, we know:
Lazarus is a man of faith in God,
he belongs to God,
and so we are not surprised when Jesus tells us that when he dies he is welcomed into the family by Abraham, the first one to know that there is One God.
The other man is rich. He does not have a name.
So he could be anybody.
He has cut himself off from everyone.
He will do nothing.
And he doesn't do anything, does he? Lazarus has been at his gate everyday, hungry and sick, and did the rich man do anything?
Are we surprised to find him "far off" after he dies?
Why is Jesus telling us this?
We have been named, haven't we? When the water is poured over our heads 3 times at our baptism, our ears hear the priest saying our name ("[insert your name here], I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!") But who's voice do we hear, deep down in our hearts?
Who has called us at our Baptism to help build the kingdom of God?
I don't want to be like the rich man who has no name. Do you?
The unnamed man has riches, sure. He has money and talents, intelligence and health. They belong to him, right? But do they really? They are all gifts from God. What could the rich man have done with his riches?
He could have offered Lazarus food. He could have offered Lazarus comfort. He could have offered Lazarus company. He could have helped Lazarus.
So, what can we do with our riches? Who can we help? (I just checked outside--there's no one lying at my gate.) But who is in need that I can help? Who do you know who needs some help?
Today, when we help someone, we can say a quiet, "thank-you" to God, for giving us this person to help. It is good to be called to help build the kingdom!