Daily Gospel Reflection – Thursday of the Second Week in Lent
Bishop Robert Barron
March 17, 2022
Thursday of the Second Week in Lent
Gospel Lk 16:19-31
Jesus said to the Pharisees: “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. 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. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’ Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’ He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’ He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’
*United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, today’s Gospel focuses on the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man “dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day,” while lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, “who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table.”
God is not pleased with this kind of economic inequality, and he burns with a passion to set things right. This theme came roaring up out of the Bible and into the Christian tradition, and it echoes up and down the centuries. Even though it makes us uncomfortable—and God knows it does, especially those of us who live in the most affluent society in the world—we can’t avoid it, because it’s everywhere in the Bible.
St. Thomas Aquinas says that we must distinguish between ownership and use of private property. We have a right to ownership through our hard work, through our inheritance. Fair enough. But with regard to the use of those things—how we use them, why we use them—then, says Thomas, we must always be concerned first for the common good and not our own. This especially includes Lazarus at our gate: those who are suffering and most in need.