Daily Gospel Reflection – Thursday of the Second Week in Lent
Bishop Robert Barron
March 9, 2023
Thursday of the Second Week in Lent
Gospel: Lc 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
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, today’s Gospel tells the story of the rich man and the poor man, Lazarus, at his gate.
God is not pleased with this kind of economic inequality, and he burns with passion to set things right. 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, "We must distinguish between ownership and the use of property." We have a right to ownership, through our hard work or inheritance. Fair enough. But with regard to the use of those things, then, says Thomas, we must always be concerned for the common good and not our own.
That’s an extraordinarily powerful claim, though it’s stated in rather sober language. Yes, you have a right to property and ownership, but when and how you use what you own is always a matter of the common good, which especially includes Lazarus at your gate: whoever is suffering and in need.