Noticing Lazarus Twenty Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C
Amos 6:1, 4-7 Psalm 146 1 Timothy 6:11-16 Luke 16:19-31
A theme that connects the readings for today’s Mass is the dangers of self-absorption where I am so taken up with self that I do not even notice the needs of my brother and my sister.
In the first reading, the prophet Amos warns those who are absorbed in the pleasures they feel in lying on “beds of ivory” in stretching “themselves upon their couches” in anointing themselves with the finest oils” and in eating the finest food, that they ignore and are not even aware of those who lack a bed to sleep in, do not have food eat, nor a way to properly wash themselves.
The Responsorial Psalm turns our attention to God who sees and is aware of everyone’s needs, especially those who are hungry, oppressed, blind, and marginalized: the widow, the orphan, and the immigrant or “stranger”. xxx
Illustrating the importance of being xx aware of the needs of those around us xxx and not becoming self-absorbed in ourselves, Jesus tells a story of a rich man who sinned not be doing something but by not noticing, not being aware of someone who was outside of his house and in need of his help.
Even dogs paid more attention to this poor man than the rich man did. At least the dogs licked the poor man’s sores. There is no indication in the Gospel passage that the rich man abused the poor man or was even disrespectful of the poor man. Instead, what is problematic is what the rich man did not do since he did not even notice the poor man outside of his house.
Can I, can you, can we identify with the rich man? Are there times in our lives that we become overly absorbed in ourselves? This self-absorption be expressed by my constantly seeking external pleasures while not being aware of other people’s needs. Self-absorption also can include being consumed with our problems, our worries, our sorrows. Both expressions of self-absorption entail not being aware of other people’s joys, and other people’s sorrows.
God constantly calls us out of ourselves. God constantly calls us to experience an ecstatic joy, which literally means joy of standing outside of ourselves. God also calls us to experience ecstatic sorrow by not simply being aware of our sorrows but also the sorrows of others.
Pope Francis has encouraged all to be more God like by growing in the ability to be more ecstatic, more outside of ourselves by learning how, in the love of the Holy Spirit, to forget more about ourselves so that we can truly rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.
May we learn to avoid the ways of the rich man in today’s parable by being more aware of other people’s joys and sorrows so that as people of communion we may truly rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. In doing so, we will be more capable of meeting a need that all of us desire, the desire to be noticed, to be appreciated, to be understood, and accompanied in a heartfelt manner.