Some theologians believe that few will go to heaven. Other theologians hold that the mercy of God is so great that many, if not most, will go to heaven. But no one knows for sure.
Today’s Gospel is a story about the relationship between a man who lived in luxury and went to hell and a frail beggar, who went to heaven. The rich man may have been a good and honest man. We don’t know. We do know that he loved his five brothers, but he was also indifferent to poor Lazarus.
The Bible has countless references to the poor and the forgotten (Micah 2:9; Isaiah 58:7; Nehemiah 5:1-5; Matthew 5:42; 25:31-36). Most of these passages tell us that God expects those who have more to help those who have less. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “God blesses those who come to the aid of the poor and rebukes those who turn away from them” (2443).
This was the rich man’s problem. What he failed to see was that the beggar Lazarus was God’s representative, a person who deserved to be treated much better. All he could see was a ragged, diseased man.
Scripture tells us to share our clothes and our food and to care for the sick and the lonely (Matthew 25:35-36; Luke 3:11). It tells us that every human being has the right to live in dignity and to not go hungry or homeless. Today, let’s ask, “What sacrifices can my family make so that we can reach out to the poor more fully?”