(Amos 6:1,4-7; Psalm 146:7-10; 1 Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16:19-31)
What it Means to be Christ to Others
Lazarus … would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the … table. (Luke 16:20, 21)
There are two issues at the heart of today’s Gospel reading: eternal life and caring for the poor. Of course, faith and baptism is the way to eternal life. But at the same time, the way we treat each other, especially the neediest among us, is just as important to our salvation.
It’s always good to give money to charitable organizations, but our heavenly Father is looking for something beyond simply writing a check. He is looking for people who will welcome the poor into their hearts—something the rich man in this parable never did. He is looking for people who will treat the needy with the same dignity and attention they give to the wealthy and satisfied.
Jesus told this parable to show that our faith is not individualistic. As children of God, we are all members of the same family. Rich or poor, we all belong to each other, and our Father expects us to treat each other with equal love, compassion, and dignity.
Our mission is to be Christ for each other. It is to save those who are lost—those who are spiritually lost and those who are lost in grief, anxiety, addiction, or bitterness. It is to feed the hungry—those who are hungry for the love of God and those who don’t know where their next meal will come from. It is to shelter the homeless—those who are far from their heavenly home and those who have no roof over their heads. In short, our mission is to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters, just as Jesus laid down his life for us.
So let’s become the Church that Jesus has called us to be. Let’s put our faith into action by being a people who give. God promises that the more freely we give of our time, our money, and our hearts, the more blessings we ourselves will find.
“Jesus, give me your heart of love and compassion. Teach me to be generous toward all of my brothers and sisters.”
(Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing us to use meditations from their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission. The Word Among Us Mass Edition contains all the readings and a meditation for each of the daily and Sunday Masses.)
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
1.) In the first reading, we hear of the fate of men who are “complacent,” “stretched comfortably on their couches,” “devise their own accomplishments,” and “anoint themselves with the best oils.” In what ways can we fall into these same selfish and self-centered actions in our own lives? What steps can we take to overcome them?
2.) In the responsorial psalm, the fate of the selfish and self-centered man from the first reading is contrasted with God’s compassion and mercy on the man who “keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry” (Psalm 146:7). What are some steps you can take individually, or as a group, to respond to the first reading and the responsorial psalm?
3.) In the second reading from the first letter to Timothy, what are some of the actions that Paul lists as actions to be taken by a man of God? How does the way you live out your own life each day stack up against this list? How important to you is living your life as a man of God? Why?
4.) In the Gospel, again we are faced with a contrast – this time it is between the fate of a selfish and self-centered man and a lowly poor man. What do you think is the main message of this parable? How does it apply to you?
5.) The meditation states that “Our mission is to be Christ for each other.” It then goes on to describe specific examples of what this means. How would you describe this “mission” in your own life? In what areas is their room for improvement?
6.) Take some time now to pray and ask the Lord for the grace to be his hands and feet to others, especially to those in most need of his love and compassion. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as a starting point.