This year the Australian Catholic Bishops have chosen this parable as the focus for the 2013 Social Justice Statement, Lazarus at Our Gate.
It may be too easy for observers and the disillusioned to dismiss this statement in the light of the horrifying revelations about sexual abuse and the failure of Church leadership to act for the protection of children and the vulnerable.It would be irresponsible for Australian Catholic clergy to ignore the message and challenge this statement offers to the cult of clericalism and its failure to witness to a "preferential option for f the poor".
We who claim Catholicism as our faith do so across a colourful spectrum of commitment.And in Australia we carry on a long tradition of social engagement that challenges political and religious abuse which sits uncomfortably in the pages of our history. The Australian Catholic Bishops have issued 65 of these statements since 1940.
As the new Abbott Government begins its Parliamentary term I hope each member of the Cabinet as well as all elected members of the House and the Senate will read this document and respond to its final challenging question, "Who is at Our Gate?
I have collected a series of resources and references that I hope will add to your reflection and action in response to this year's Social Justice Statement.
The ACSJC website - www.socialjustice.catholic.org.au - has resources available for download free of charge They include Social Justice Sunday Liturgy Notes, a PowerPoint presentation and resources for schools and social justice groups.