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March 9th - Lk. 16: 19-31

Fr. Michael MachacekNativity of Our LordMarch 9, 2023
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today's other readings are Jeremiah 17: 5-10 and Psalm 1

One priest friend once said that in terms of waking up, today's parable is more effective than a double espresso.  I agree with him. 

I have no idea how many times I have preached on this gospel, let alone how times I have read it.  And it still jolts me to this day.  

The story is a classic of a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus.  The rich man is actually quite tolerant of having Lazarus around, as he allows him to stay at his gate.  But rich has committed a very grave sin - not what he did, but rather, what he did not do.  For he did nothing for Lazarus.  And for his sin,  a sin of omission, he is eternally damned.

When it comes to confession, I find that the overwhelming number of sins confessed are sins of commission, the wrong that we have done.  Rarely do I hear sins of omission, which are the good that we have not donee.  In the gospels it is quite apparent that Jesus focusses a lot of attention on sins of omission, as depicted in his famous parable of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25.  In that parable the goats earn eternal damnation based on what they did not do, rather than what they did.  

Our saviour knew that often the greatest harm done to others are sins of omission.  Today's parable is a harsh reminder of the perils of such sins.