The Holy Father gave his angelus address today on the theme of today’s Gospel: “The rich man symbolizes the iniquitous use of riches to obtain a reckless and selfish luxury, thinking only to satisfy himself, without caring about the poor man at his gate.”
Benedict noted that the wealthy man was well considered by society and had made a name for himself, while the poor man was cared for by nobody, yet in God’s eyes: “the poor man, in contrast with the rich man, has a name, Lazarus, the abbreviation of Eleazar, which means ‘God helps him’.
“He who is forgotten by all, God does not forget; he who is of no value in the eyes of men, is precious in the Lord’s eyes”, the Holy Father stated.
The parable shows a final justice over all earthly injustices: “It shows how God makes justice for all earthly injustices: after death, Lazarus is gathered into “the bosom of Abraham”, that is, into eternal beatitude, while the rich man ends up “in hell among torments”.
The Holy Father recalled the words of Paul VI’s encyclical, Populorum progression, speaking about the fight against hunger. “We seek to create a world in which every man can live a fully human life…where the poor Lazarus can seat himself at the same table as the rich man”(n.47).
The Holy Father mentioned specifically “the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, afflicted in these past days with severe floods” as well as other nations experiencing humanitarian emergencies.
Benedict affirmed in the worlds of Paul VI: “The people of hunger appeal in a dramatic way to the people of opulence” (Populorum progressio, 3).
After the angelus, the Holy Father greeted the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present, including members of the Acton Institute, and administrators and benefactors of Seton Hall University.
In addressing them he stated, “Today’s Gospel reading reminds us to be generous with the good things we receive in life. In this spirit, may your visit to Castel Gandolfo and Rome be a time filled with thanksgiving and renewed love of the universal Church. Upon you and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of Christ the Lord!”