Reflection for September 25, 2022–the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 19, 2022 | By Bishop Roy E. Campbell, Jr.

“If your reward is in this life, you will have torment in the next.”

Christ came to save the poor. Those who do not have the material sustenance to meet their bodily needs and those who are “poor in spirit,” those who seek to know and follow God’s will.

Are we ever blinded by self-satisfaction, complacent in the material things we have accumulated? Jesus asks us to take a good hard look at ourselves. Everything we have has truly been given to us by God. What are we doing with the gifts God has given us in this life? What we do with His gifts can become our virtues. We have the responsibility to choose to use God’s gifts to do what is right, and to accept the struggles and suffering that will be involved with our choice.

In God’s plan of salvation, we find salvation not alone, not just in our individual relationship with God, but we find salvation when we find ourselves belonging to others, in a community of need. We truly need others for our own salvation. In the Gospel, the truly poor man was the rich man, who in his complacency failed to notice the beggar at his gates. He was the one who was spiritually poor and bankrupt.

Often, it is the rich and affluent who are really in need. God has given the rich many gifts, and He expects the rich to use these gifts to help those in need; therefore, the rich need the poor for their own salvation. Who in our lives is seeking the crumbs that fall from our table of plenty?

In today’s Gospel, the rich man lived a life of luxury and let Lazarus, the poor man, stay outside the gate of his house to suffer. When they died, their roles were reversed. The rich man found that he had already enjoyed his “reward” on earth. Now it was his turn to suffer, for eternity. The poor man, whom the rich man ignored on earth, is spending eternity in the luxury of the love of God.

During our earthly journey, we can give the wealth of the gifts that God has given us to those in need in many ways. We can, and should always, pray for each other, because we are all in need of prayer. We also give whatever we can, as the rich man should have done, to those in need in our families, among our friends and to those who we do not know but find in our path of life.

– Bishop Roy Campbell

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