Introductory Prayer: In you, Lord, I find all my joy and happiness. How could I offend you by chasing after fleeting success and lifeless trophies? I believe in you because you are truth itself. I hope in you because you are faithful to your promises. I love you because you have loved me first. I am a sinner; nevertheless, you have given me so many blessings. I humbly thank you.
Petition: Lord, make me more aware of the people around me who need my help.
1. Nice Isn´t Enough: The rich man in today´s Gospel is the proverbial “nice guy.” His good qualities abound. He does, after all, accept his fate meekly. He doesn´t ask to be released from hell; he asks for only a drop of water to quench his thirst. And when he can´t get even that much relief, he begs for a special messenger in the hopes of sparing his own brothers a similar fate. He at least thinks of the welfare of others. Yet, all that niceness didn´t save him from eternal punishment. Do I ever think that just being a "nice" person will get me to heaven? Might I be using my own standards to judge my worthiness, rather than using God´s standards?
2. The “O” Word: The rich man never seemed to be bothered by Lazarus. The poor man was doubtlessly a pitiful sight to behold. Some people would have been quick to send servants to chase the beggar away. But not the rich man; no, he deliberately left the beggar alone. And that is where the rich man erred. His was a sin of omission. The rich man lost his soul not for what he did, but for what he failed to do. Am I much better? Is there someone in need, right under my nose, who I routinely ignore? Is there something I could be doing to end an evil? Do I help the pro-life effort? Do I contribute to the poor? Do I dedicate time to a needy child or sibling or in-law?
3. Late Love: The rich man, now condemned, shows concern for his five brothers. They, presumably, are living it up — and destined for the same end as their hapless sibling. The rich man´s concern is well-placed, but his timing is late. If only he had shown concern for his brothers´ souls when he was alive — then he might have made an impact. Caring for family members, helping them reach heaven, is the most loving thing we can do for them. Everything else will be meaningless if our own behavior (or omission) prevents others from attaining salvation. Does that prompt me to pray constantly for family members? To offer up sacrifices for them? Do I try to help others grow in their faith?
Conversation with Christ: Lord, my time in this world is short. Too many people suffer the unexpected death of loved ones and then regret that they didn´t do more for them. Let me not make that same mistake. Help me see that each day is a gift, and each encounter with another person is an opportunity to show your love to them.
Resolution: I will do an act of charity for someone whom I have been taking for granted.