Sunday, September 25, 2016

26th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C

In the gospel for today, Jesus tells the parable of the rich man "dressed in purple and fine linen," and Lazarus, the beggar "covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table." The beggar dies and is carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom, while the rich man is in the torments of hell. At Vigils this morning, we have a reading from St. John Chrysostom (c. 349 – 407), Archbishop of Constantinople, who preached eloquently against the abuse of wealth:
It is worthwhile enquiring why the rich man saw Lazarus in Abraham’s arms, and not in the company of some other righteous person. The reason is that Abraham was hospitable, and so the sight of Lazarus with Abraham was meant to reproach the rich man for his own inhospitality. Abraham used to pursue even passers-by and drag them into his home, whereas the rich man disregarded someone lying in his own doorway. Although he had within his grasp so great a treasure, such an opportunity to win salvation, he ignored the poor man day after day....

And this is true of you also. If you show much eagerness in welcoming some famous and distinguished person you do nothing remarkable; often the high rank of a guest compiles even reluctant host to show every sign of courtesy. But we do something truly great and admirable when we given a most courteous welcome to all, even the outcasts of society or people of humble condition.... And so Abraham also, knowing this, did not ask who travellers were or where they came from, as we do today, but simply welcomed them all. Anyone wishing to show kindness should not inquire into other people’s lives, but has only to alleviate their poverty and supply their needs, as Christ commanded when he said: Imitate your Father in heaven, who makes his sun rise on good and bad alike, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.
Lazarus at the Rich Man's door, illumination from the Codex Aureus of Echternach (11th c.)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the insight from St John Chrysostom! Too often I wait for someone to come to me - I need to practice hospitality like Abraham!

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