In order to start reflecting on the good news that Luke gives us today, we have to think back a few Sundays—thirty-two in fact—to the sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time when we heard Luke’s beatitudes and woes. Recall Luke’s first beatitude:
Blessed are you poor, for yours is the
. kingdomof God
And recall the first woe that goes with it:
But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
In today’s Gospel, in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, this beatitude and this woe come true. The rich man who enjoyed himself—all the while ignoring the needs of others—dies, is buried, and goes to his torment. But Lazarus the poor and sick man, neglected by those who could have helped, dies and is carried off to the “bosom of Abraham.”
If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.
But we need to be upset in such a way that we are led to action—to beginning to change our own hearts and to seek to change the world around us. And to do this we need God. For without God, the question of what to do about the poverty, hunger and wars of this world will leave us overwhelmed and paralyzed.