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26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (YrC)

My dear friends in Christ,

And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table.
Luke 16:20

Opportunities to Love

If you found on your doorstep a filthy, starving, homeless man surrounded by stray dogs, how would you react? Would you see an opportunity to love, heal, and serve? Would you see the face of Christ in the man? Or would you be repulsed, scared, or annoyed? Would you try to ignore him and hope that he’d go away?

That’s what the rich man in today’s gospel did. It’s not that he couldn’t see Lazarus; he was simply too hard of heart to help. He separated himself from the plight of Lazarus his neighbour - a separation that continued after they died, except with a dramatic reversal of fortune.

Jesus told this parable to challenge our way of thinking about the poor, so that we can change our way of acting. Jesus invites us to see the Lazaruses on our doorstep as brothers and sisters, not burdens; as opportunities, not inconveniences; as persons, not problems.

He’s not asking us to do the impossible, but to do what we can. Lazarus would have welcomed table scraps - a reminder that even the small things we do can seem so great to those who have so little. As St. Anselm once said: “The fasts of the rich are the feasts of the poor.”

Merciful Christ, open my eyes to the poor in my community and in the world. Do not let me turn away from or simply avoid their need. Give me the courage and determination to help them and to speak up for the protection of their human dignity. Amen.

Fr Brett

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