I just recently saw a movie about a 90+ year old man who was brought to court by survivors of Nazi death camps.

The man admitted he was in the death camps not as a soldier, not as torturer, not as an officer…

but just as a simple accountant.

His work was to collect, sort, count, document and store the rings, watches, suitcases, shoes, necklaces and other personal items confiscated from the Jews.

He said they knew these items were turned over because the owners were about to die and didn’t need them anymore.

His defense was that he was just doing his job as an accountant.

He did not hurt anyone; he did not rob anyone.

Above all, he did not kill anyone like the guards, the torturers and the medical teams did.

But the court ruled that there was one crucial mistake this man did.

He knew people were suffering… he knew they would be murdered… he knew they were doomed.

But he did not say or do anything to help!

If I do not do anything, am I sinning?

…I’m just at home quietly living my life.

…I’m just working here; I don’t have power or influence.

…It’s better to keep out of trouble.

…I have to take care of my own family first.

What is wrong with that?

The Gospel today tells us that for Jesus, indifference is wrong.

The rich man did not harm or attack the poor Lazarus (Lk 16).

He did not curse him or drive him away.

But in the end, the rich man’s destination was to hell!


He never bothered to speak with the poor man.

… nor even thought of sharing his food and drink with him.

It never occurred to him that Lazarus needed a warm bed.

The rich man enjoyed his usual comforts knowing that someone was suffering

… not on the other side of the globe

… but right at his doorstep!

That made God very angry, because this attitude was the very opposite of Jesus’ attitude.

….Enthroned in heaven, the Lord Jesus left for the filth and poverty of earth.

…All-powerful with the Father and the Spirit, he lived as weak among the weak.

…Master of the universe, he decided to be its servant.

…Lord of Life, he died on the Cross out of love for his brothers and sisters in need of salvation.

Jesus, by his life and death, shows us that to do nothing when you can or when you have to, is a serious sin – we call it “sin of omission.”

To be concerned for other’s suffering, to be disturbed by another’s pain, to involve oneself in your neighbor’s quest for meaning, to lend a hand, to show kindness and mercy – these are the surest ways to make it to heaven. God has no other reaction to these but approval and joy!

So don’t just pray or read your Bible! Smile and talk to others, too!

Don’t just fast and sacrifice! Help a poor fellow you meet today!

Don’t just send in a check or donation! Take time to be with those who need your love!



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