What was the great crime of the "rich man" towards Lazarus? (Lk 16:19-31) Certainly that he should have cared for Lazarus in his need, but more broadly he is to be faulted for determining himself who was and was not in his "sphere of love." Aquinas teaches in his Summa questions on the virtue of charity that love properly begins with those closest to us in accordance with subsidiarity, then expands in concentric circles outwards to those further away. When the Christian selects only a few human beings for their own "sphere," it is idolatry: the worshiping of human values over the values of God for the sake of selfish gain. Instead, Christian disciples must let God determine who is within our sphere of love, those closest and those far away, and discernment of this sphere comes through prayer. Who are the Lazarus' at your doorstep?
-Given at the St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel (UST-St. Paul) on March 12, 2020.