Amos 6:1,4-7, Ps. 146:7-10, 1 Timothy 6:11-16, Luke 16:19-31

“I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.” (Luke 16:27-28)

Last Sunday, we heard Jesus say to us: “Make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails, they may receive you into the eternal habitations.” (Luke 16:9) Jesus told the parable of a dishonest steward to teach us the need to prepare for the Day of Judgment. Today, Jesus presents another parable that contains a lot of messages.

1. Indifference is a Sin.

The story of the Rich Man and Lazarus is very similar to the story of the Rich Fool whose lands yielded in abundance but the difference is that while the latter ends with sudden death, the former tells us how the rich man ended in hellfire after his death. The question arises: “Is it a crime to be rich?” What exactly did the rich man do to deserve eternal punishment? Amos answers this question in today’s first reading; He describes the lavish lifestyle of the super-rich who can afford the best of all that life could offer but “are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!”

The sin of the rich man in today’s Gospel passage is not in how he made his money but in his indifference to the poor and suffering. The rich man had enough money to host parties daily and feast sumptuously but he couldn’t help Lazarus. Lazarus was attracted to his gate in the hope of feeding on the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table but sadly, no one gave him anything. One great man once said: “Evil triumphs in the world not because there are bad people but because the good people don’t care.” Indifference is a sin. 

2. Indifference is Blindness.

Unlike the rich fool, God did not take the rich man’s life immediately. He had several opportunities to catch a glimpse of Lazarus but his conscience was not touched. We fail to notice the poor around us because we are constantly competing with those better than us. We find it very hard to count our blessings because we are blind to those in far worse conditions. The truth is that there are billions of poor people in the world; billions suffering from all kinds of circumstances. Jesus noted that: “you will always have the poor with you.” (Matthew 26:11 & Mark 14:7). Jesus tells this story today so that we can open our eyes to see what is in our power to do. It wouldn’t have taken much from the rich man to help Lazarus but he was too blind to notice. 

3. God Hates Wastefulness.

In as much as riches are blessings from God who gives to his children in abundance, God hates wastefulness. Therefore, after working the miracle of the loaves, when the multitudes had eaten enough, Jesus ordered his disciples to gather the scraps left over. (Cf. Mt. 14:20, Mk. 6:43, Lk. 9:17) Jesus tells us that the rich man wore purple clothes and fine linen and feasted sumptuously every day. It is one thing to be properly dressed, but a different thing to wear the most expensive clothes in the world. Again, it is one thing to have three square meals a day but a different thing to throw a feast (party) every single day. 

4. Be Good to People Especially When You Do Not Stand to Gain from Them.

This rich man who never gave Lazarus a cup of water to drink was asking for a little drop when he recognized Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom. Once upon a time, I saw a short video clip. Every morning, there was this destitute beggar at the entrance of the shop of a successful trader. To drive him away, the trader would pour a bucket of water on this beggar’s body but the beggar kept using the place as his bedroom.

One day, the trader opened his shop, he had his bucket of water in hand but the beggar was not there. He became worried and for the first time decided to review his CCTV camera. The trader discovered that all that time he was maltreating the beggar (never for once did he give him anything to eat), this destitute beggar was always helping to fight off a group of armed robbers who come at night trying to burgle his shop. That night, they stabbed the beggar with a knife and he died before morning. Social services noticed the dead man and they quickly took him to the mortuary.

When he saw the video, he wept profusely. He realized he had been punishing the very man who gave up his life trying to protect his shop. Now that he was dead, there was no way to thank the poor beggar or reward his sacrifices.

5. Lazarus Has Come Back to Warn us.

The principal lesson of our Gospel passage today is found in the lips of the rich man. When he realized that he could not get a drop of water, he cried: “Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father's house-- for I have five brothers-- that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.” (Luke 16:27-28). This is where the story becomes a living reality in our lives. In truth, those of us hearing this message are the brothers of the rich man and Lazarus is here already and he is warning us. Are you going to listen? Or are you going to prove Abraham right that even if someone rises from the dead, they would not repent?


Consider a privilege each time you meet someone poor or in need of your help, and treat them with kindness even if they are not strong enough to ask for your help. If you have what you need, remember that whatever is extra doesn’t belong to you. You are blessed to bless others.

Let us pray: Almighty ever-living Father, break my cold heart of stone and teach me to recognize you in the poor. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (26th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Amos 6:1,4-7, Ps. 146:7-10 1 Timothy 6:11-16 Luke 16:19-31).

© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu