This upcoming Sunday in the One Year Series we hear Luke 16:19-31 - The Rich Man and Lazarus. I wonder how many people will turn this into a morality play, a tale of virtue - make sure you love your neighbor and are generous!
Now, yes, we are to love our neighbor - but that's not the point of distinction. It's not the greedy rich man versus the kind and generous rich man. And the apex of the parable isn't even about receiving or not receiving good things in life.
It's about hearing the Word of God or ignoring it.
The lack of love isn't the problem - it's just a symptom of ignoring the Word of God... the very Word of God which creates and gives faith.
It's not a week for stressing virtue - it's a week for remembering that faith comes by hearing. It's not a week to ponder about how rich we are in works, so that we could expect to boss even Abraham around. It's a week to remember that we are poor miserable sinners - though we have been baptized, called by God, named as sons and daughters, and that we will be comforted by Him eternally, even in the face of a life that is so often lousy.
This is a parable of comfort.