National Collection for the Needs of the Church in Canada
Amos 6.1a, 4 – 7. Psalm 146. 1 Timothy 6. 11 – 16. Luke 16. 19 – 31

“There was a rich a man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted
sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered
with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s
table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was
carried away by the Angels to be with Abraham. This rich man also died and was
buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham
far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on
me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I
am in agony in these flames.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during
your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things;
but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you
and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here
to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ The man who had been
rich said, “Then, father, I beg you to send Lazarus to my father’s house – for I have
five brothers – that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place
of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets, they should
listen to them.’ He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the
dead, they will repent.’ Abraham said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the
prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”
Luke 16:19-31
The Gospel reading tells of a reversal of fortunes. It tells us that God will upset our
notion of how the world should work. Those who have plenty will suffer. Those who
suffer will know fullness of life. Jesus demonstrates this point in his parable, and it is a

message he returns to over and over again in his teachings. Riches, esteem, and the things
of this world must not distract us from serving God and his people.
This message is not exclusive to the New Testament. The Old Testament figure Amos is
the prophet of social justice. Through him, God condemned all kinds of injustice among
the people of Israel. In the Book of Amos (Am 6:1a, 4-7), the prophet lashed out at the
extravagant and luxurious lifestyle of the people, unmindful of the needs of the poor in
their midst. To them, he pronounced God’s sentence: “Therefore, now they shall be the
first to go into exile, and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.”
The rich man of the parable was so focused on his own comfort that he did nothing to
help the starving Lazarus whom he saw every day. He should have known better, for
even the law given in the Old Testament made is clear that caring for those in distress
needs to be a priority.
Many people who go to confession think only of sins of commission. They confess the
sins they have done. That is why they would readily believe that they do not need to go to
confession because they were able to avoid doing bad. But being a good Christian does
not consist only of avoiding sinful acts. Rather, it mainly consists of doing good and
helping others. Failing to do so is more serious sin, that is, the sin of omission. In fact, as
the Gospel tells us, it is the sin of omission that can bring us down to eternal damnation.
At the Last Judgment in Matthew 25, the question is not about the sins we have
committed. Instead, the question is about the good things we should have done: did we
feed the hungry? Did we give drink to the thirsty, clothing to the naked and welcome to
strangers? This is also well illustrated in this parable. There was no mention about the
rich man being unjust or dishonest, and yet he was condemned to hell because he did not
attend to the needs of Lazarus at his gates.
We always hear about the “Silent Majority” in the Church. There are many dissenters and
noisy complainers in the Church today. But they are not the majority. The vast majority
in the Church are those who hold on to the true faith in silence and peace, not at all

affected by the chaos, noise and controversies of the world. But if we look deeper, for
many their silence is often not out of simplicity and humility, but is rather motivated by
fear and the desire to live in comfortable insulation. They choose to be silent and distant
because they do not want to go through the trouble of “getting involved”. They do not
want to lose the safe and quiet comfort of life. If this is the source of our silence, then it is
not a source of holiness. These are actually the sinners of omission – the “do-nothing-
folks”. What they do not realize is that doing nothing, and keeping silent and inactive in
the midst of the attacks against the faith and the sufferings of people, is ultimately more
harmful to everybody.
The lesson of history should never be forgotten. Hitler and the Nazis were able to push
their evil plans against humanity in part because most bishops of Europe kept quiet. The
Muslims under Mohammed were very successful in overrunning the ancient Christian
civilizations in the first jihad, as well as almost the entirety of Christian Europe in the
second jihad because many Christians did not do anything.
The present situation is no different. The evils today of materialism, communism,
relativism, sexual perversion, abortion, modernism, freemasonry, and many other evils
have spready rapidly and with impunity, in large part because the majority of Catholics
choose to keep quiet and remain uninvolved. Like what happened in the past, we are
more and more waking up to a society totally lost in the hands of evil. If the majority
continues to remain silent and indifferent, very soon we will altogether fall down the cliff
of damnation. That is how vicious the sin of omission is. It is often said, “All that is
necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” The famous philosopher and
statesman Edmund Burke similarly said, “Nothing is so fatal to religion as indifference.”
God created us as His children in freedom. He wants us to be free from any enslavement
to sin and worldly things. That is why, in many of his teachings, Jesus insisted on
detachment and renunciation: “Renounce your possessions and follow me.” The rich
young man wanted to attain eternal life, but could not have it because he was not free –
he could not renounce his possessions. The rich man in this Gospel reading could not

renounce his wealth either. And in his enslavement to material comfort and pleasure, he
was blinded and chose to ignore Lazarus at his gates. He was not free. The lesson here is
not that to be holy is to be without riches, for many poor people also think more of
material things than of God, but it asks us to consider where our mind is preoccupied – is
it with material things or with God? That is why we have to always check ourselves, lest
we too be slaves to our possessions like the rich man.
Many people take the present life for granted. But we are given the grave warning in this
parable that death is final, and it is this life alone that gives us the prescribed time and
opportunity to prepare for eternity. If we cannot be trusted with passing things in this life,
we cannot also be trusted with eternal things in the life to come. Moreover, this life gives
us all the chances and graces we need for conversion and spiritual maturity. When our
life in this world is over, all these chances for conversion and reparation are gone.
The parable states, for those condemned to hell, the separation from God and His
kingdom is absolute: “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.” So
let us not waste a single minute in this life. Let us grab every opportunity that comes to
do good works and grow in holiness.
In his Letter to Timothy (1Tim 6:11-16), Saint Paul exhorts him to be a good leader of
the people entrusted to him: “As for you, man of God; pursue righteousness, godliness,
faith, love, endurance, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the
eternal life to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the
presence of many witnesses.” In truth, this exhortation applies to every Christian. We
cannot be complacent and unmindful of the events surrounding us, for no one knows the
day of reckoning. Hence, the Apostle’s challenge: “I charge you… to keep the
commandment without stain or reproach until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
All these ideas draw us also to one great challenge for the Christian today, that we not
mistake the detachment and renunciation that Christ calls us to with a general malaise and

indifference to the world around us. For this kind of indifference poses both a great
spiritual danger and a danger to society. The detachment from worldly things Christ calls
us to is not one of indifference to the world and its troubles. Rather, this detachment is
what gives us the freedom to seek holiness amidst the world’s troubles, to not fear the
anxieties and obstacles that may come from “getting involved” or from helping our
fellow person, for we are filled with a joy so much greater than all these troubles.
Fundamentally, it is a call to still be in the world, but no longer of the world.
God bless.