Written by: Dr. William O’Leary, Pastoral Associate for Youth Faith Formation
The Church organizes the Sunday readings to each have a connection (the First and the Gospel & the Second with the other two).
This Week’s First Reading warns us to be cautious of being too comfortable in a world where so many are not. We live in a society that abhors suffering and desires comfort. While comfort in itself is not bad, one must always guard against the idea that one deserves or has justly earned it.
Jesus, in today’s Gospel, is telling the Pharisees that living comfortably when others live with so little is only part of the issue at hand. The other issue is that there was little love in how the rich man lived. One is judged on how we love God and neighbor (See Lk 10: 25-37 & Mt. 25: 31-46). How do you sacrifice in order to love your neighbor? Jesus says even the pagans love those who love them (Mt. 5:47). How does loving cost you personally? Often it is easier to give financially but not give of ourselves and our time to others. What is God asking us to consider this week through these readings?
Many scholars see this Gospel passage as proof of Purgatory. We get a glimpse that Purgatory is a place that purifies us through the flames of God’s love. Gold and silver are purified in the fire. Jesus is essentially warning the Pharisees that if they won’t believe Moses and the prophets they won’t believe in anyone coming in a vision to tell them not to be too comfortable when the world around us needs the love and mercy of God through our actions, compassion and speaking the truth even when it is challenging but necessary.
Finally, the Second Reading links the other two readings by giving the remedy for living rightly. How does your life match what St. Paul says: “pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness?” How are you “competing well for the faith” (running the race of holiness with a resolve to love God and neighbor)? Pray this week to evaluate your love of neighbor and attachment to comfort.