I saw Satan hurrying about and looking for someone… he confessed, “I a looking for idle souls.” When I commanded him again in the Name of God to tell me to which souls he has the easiest access, he said, “to lazy and idle souls.”
A vision of Faustina as recorded in her Diary, par. 1127
Jesus has another rich man, poor man story for us today but there is a slight twist. He begins by telling us how this rich man, who is not named, dresses well, eats well and lives sumptuously. Does this rich man ever treat the poor man, whom Jesus names Lazarus, with disdain? No. Does the rich man ever deny Lazarus anything? No. Does the poor man, Lazarus, ever beg for food, clothing, or money from the anonymous rich man? No. The premise of the story is laid out quite simply. The rich man lives in luxury, the poor man in poverty and there is no sign of interaction between them. So what’s the problem? Did the rich man even know Lazarus? YES! He asks for him by name!
The admonition from the prophet, Amos, in the first reading is alarming. Woe to the complacent! He speaks to the people of Israel who are living in the lap of luxury and don’t even notice their enemy outside, ready to invade their kingdom and end their glorious, complacent lifestyle.
The Catechism describes sloth (laziness) as a culpable (blameworthy) lack of physical or spiritual effort. In our second reading, Paul directs us to pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Notice the active verb, pursue. We don’t acquire these qualities—which are the opposite of the seven deadly sins: pride, greed, envy, anger, gluttony, lust and sloth—by merely allowing them to descend gently upon us. No, we must pursue them and the verb also suggests we never completely acquire them; it is on ongoing work-in-process till the day we die.
The rich man is unnamed so that we can see ourselves in his failure to notice Lazarus. Someday, each of us will stand before God, listening to His response to… “When did we see you hungry or naked or thirsty?”