Both of the readings for today reminded me of the story of Lazarus and the rich man. As a little memory jog, Lazarus was a poor beggar who lived on the steps of the house of a rich and selfish man. They both pass away and Lazarus is welcomed into the bosom of Abraham while the rich man suffers in hell. When the rich man calls out to Abraham for mercy, Abraham responds, "Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish" (Luke 16:25).
We humans desire comfort and satisfaction, and these things aren't bad in and of themselves. But a constant need for comofrt and "our good things" can breed in us a spiritual laziness and entitlement. In 21st century America it is easy to do the minimum. We generally have what we need, but we always want more. Our culture is a strange paradox: the expectation to perform and produce is through the roof, which causes stress and stress and stress which we numb by not doing anything, simply turning on Netflix and eating whatever sugary junk food is within our reach.
It's a strange kind of comfort, that isn't always actually comforting, but it is easy. I think our American "comfort" is just like all the other empty promises of the evil one. This isn't a satisfying life.
Jesus calls us to reject this idea of comfort and press into the discomfort of life. We're going to experience suffering in our life no matter what happens. Jesus asks us to embrace it. Not only that, we can even joyfully fast from some good things for the sake of greater things. That doesn't mean that we need to go seek out suffering, but we can deny ourself something pleasant or preferential so that we can become poor, hungry, weeping, hated, etc. For it is when we embrace our poverty that Jesus makes us rich.
-Amanda Benner, Director of Evangelization