26th Sunday Ordinary Time
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: Sept. 25, 2022
Are you feeling a bit uncomfortable after listening to this parable of Jesus? Most of us should be feeling uncomfortable. This might be one of the most frightening parables of Jesus. The divisions and separations that exist in this life will continue into the next.
Abraham tells the rich man that “a great chasm has been fixed” and no one can cross from one side to the other. Have we created any chasms, any separations from others in this life? Do I even notice those who are poor, homeless, desperate in this life? Have my riches and comfort blinded me to the reality of so many in our world and in our own community?
The inequality between the rich and poor within our world today is not much different than at the time of Jesus. There is no contact between the two sides. In fact, the poor are not even seen at all. During my recent trip to Italy, I noticed so many homeless people in the streets of Rome. Something new I saw were little tents placed up around St. Peters and other locations near the Vatican. Pope Francis asked that they be put there for the homeless. Most often our cities want to hide the poor, get them out of the way. We want to pretend that they do not exist or at least make sure that they do not disturb the rest of us.
But, if we ignore the poor in such a way that we do not even care that they exist, that we do not even want any contact with them, then we will be creating that great chasm which will continue into the next life.
We need to examine our own lives. Do I create any chasms between myself and others?
If racism and prejudice afflict me so that I want to have no contact with those who are different from me, then I am creating a great chasm that will continue into the next.
Are there certain people that I have chosen to ignore, chosen to keep far away so that I do not have contact with them? Am I creating a great chasm with any other people, with any other groups?
This parable of Jesus should make us uncomfortable. It should cause us to reflect carefully on ways that I may have become completely separated from others in the world.
Because the chasms, the separations, that exist in this life will continue into the next.
We should be uncomfortable with the situation that so many human beings face in our world. Refugees, migrants, homeless, poor, many lonely elderly in our nursing homes. Is a great chasm being formed between us and so many others in our world?
We pray “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We should strive to live now as life would be in heaven. Separations and divisions are not the way of heaven. Chasms that cut us off from others is not the way of heaven. But, are we like the rich man in the parable who did not even notice the chasm that existed while on this earth, who did not even notice the poor Lazarus?