In the last few weekends, God’s theme in the readings has been one of deep love for the poor and lowly. We see Him lift them up. We hear about this again this weekend when we listento the readings about the rich man and Lazarus, a very poor man. Lazarus struggled to find food to eat; he was sick and had sores all over his body. . The rich man lived every day like a king, had nice clothing and lived in a gated community. The rich man would end up in Gehenna (or hell) and Lazarus ended up in the Bosom of Abraham.
Jesus again has a simple but difficult message for us if we ignore the poor and the lowly. We will end up like the rich man who cries out to God for relief but receives none. Do not be discouraged as we as Christians and Catholics try to care for the poor in our lives. How do we do this? One way is to give alms! When we do good things for the poor and the lowly, we are doing what God does, and God will reward our good actions.
Thankfully giving alms is not difficult. We can give to a charity, a church, or perhaps a non-profit. Even a small gift will be rewarded by God in the life to come. I sometimes give some money to charities and non-profits. I want to detach myself from my possessions and one way I can do this is by giving some things away-perhaps to a thrift store or another charity.I’m sure we all have some items we haven’t used in years.
Finally, giving alms is a form of penance and can help remove the debt that we have from sin. When we sin against God, we owe him a debt and one of the ways we relieve this debt is by doing penance. Therefore the priest gives you a penance to do after you confess your sins. Confession removes the guilt of sin, but the debt is removed when we finish our penance. When we give alms we remove debt as well. Scripture tells us,“As water quenches a flaming fire, so almsgiving atones for sins.” (Sirach 3:30) Almsgiving will help build up treasures in heaven. May we be generous with what we have!