Someone once said that if you want to find out who the Christians are, just ask the poor. They’ll be able to tell you.
That’s the challenge that’s thrown at our feet in today’s gospel reading. Jesus wants us to help poor people. That’s no surprise. We’ve heard that so many times that maybe that message has grown as stale a week-old-mug-of-beer. Luke can’t stop talking about poor people. He’s like your obnoxious hippie cousin who still lives in the summer of love, even though he was born in 1978.
Luke is suggesting that our salvation has something to do with how we treat those who need our help.
At least that’s what it sounds like in today’s gospel. To get a sense of the priority Jesus places on helping poor folks, just look at this text. This is the only place in scripture where Jesus identifies someone explicitly before sending them to Hell.
And it’s not because he didn’t have faith in Jesus. It’s not because he wasn’t baptized. It wasn’t because he couldn’t keep his zipper zipped.
The rich man is sent to Hell because he ignored a poor person who needed help.
It’s a hard story to listen to. Where most of the world lives on less than $2.00 a day, this story is directed squarely at us.
This is rich vs poor. There’s no getting around it. And Jesus sets up the story in a way that would make Rush Limbaugh’s...(the whole thing here)