“I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do…”
Penitential Act – Confiteor
The Gospel this Sunday (Lk. 16: 19-31) reminds us of the importance of acting. We are not simply called to avoid doing evil, but we are called to actively do good. God has given each one of us a mission to accomplish in this world. We have been created to give ourselves away in love… that is what it means to be created in the image of God. That is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
The rich man in the parable is not an evil man. He does not seek to harm Lazarus. He simply fails to respond with love and compassion to the person right in front of him. He allows his own selfishness to blind him to the reality of suffering “lying at his door” (Lk. 16:20).
Poverty, hunger, and other forms of injustice are complex issues. We can get overwhelmed. But feeling overwhelmed does not let us off the hook. As disciples of Jesus we are not called to solve all of the world’s problems. We are, however, called to respond with compassion to the suffering around us. Simple actions to help alleviate the suffering we encounter every day helps us to develop a heart that is sensitive and responsive to the actions of the Holy Spirit. Building relationships with those who are suffering keeps us in touch with Christ suffering in our world.
Disciples do not ignore or flee from suffering. We enter into the suffering of our friends and neighbors. Why? Because we have confidence in the one who has been raised from the dead (Cf. Lk. 16:31).
Lincoln A. Wood