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26th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C

Who is at your gate?

Today’s parable is one of the more dramatic, even melodramatic, of all the stories that Jesus tells. He paints a vivid contrast between the extreme luxury enjoyed by the rich man and the extreme destitution endured by the beggar at his gate. It is emphatically repeated in reverse when Jesus imagines their respective conditions after death.

We should pay attention to Jesus’ warnings about where self-centred indifference to the needs of others will lead us. This parable echoes Matthew’s vision of the Last Judgment, where the Lord turns away those who have not recognised him in the poor and suffering. Neither Gospel is offering an exact account of what awaits us after death; that is yet to be revealed. But they are meant to wake us up and make us look.

At the end of the parable, the rich man asks that Lazarus be sent back from the dead to give this warning to his brothers. “They have Moses and the Prophets,” says Abraham. “If they will not listen to them, even someone risen from the dead will not convince them.”

Today’s first reading is from the prophet Amos. If we do not listen to him, will we listen to Jesus?

Lord lift up my eyes to see who is at my gate