The readings from the lectionary for the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time offer profound warnings for the rich in regard to their treatment of those not as blessed with material wealth as they have been. The prophet Amos declares, "Woe to the complacent in Zion! Lying upon beds of ivory, stretched comfortably on their couches, they eat lambs taken from the flock, and calves from the stall!" (6:4) These words seem to foreshadow the description of the rich man, called Dives in medieval tradition, in the Gospel reading (which is of course why the composers of the Lectionary paired these two readings together): "There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day" (Luke 16:19) Dives ends up condemned to Hell, not because of his riches, but because he did not care for the poor man Lazarus, who was "lying at his door."
Interestingly, he stands in stark contrast to four saints who have their memorials in the following week, all of whom are in some way are connected to charity. September 26 was the memorial of Sts. Cosmos and Damian, twin brothers who were doctors but motivated by their Catholic faith to refuse payment if their patient could not afford it. This brought them to the attention of the Roman authorities and they were martyred together, along with their other brothers, in AD 303. They are commemorated in the Communicantes of the Roman Canon and there is a basilica dedicated to them in Rome which overlooks the Forum.
Originally, their feast was on September 27 but it was moved back a day to make room for St. Vincent de Paul, a 17th century priest who founded an order of priests and nuns dedicated to charitable works. September 28 is the (optional) memorial of St. Wenceslas. Interestingly where Cosmos, Damian and their brothers are martyrs who gained their crowns together, Wenceslas was martyred by his own brother Boleslaw in AD 935. Wenceslas was Duke (not technically a king) of Bohemia whose charity is immortalized in the Christmas carol Good King Wenceslas, which tells a legend about how he and a young page braved a blizzard to bring food, wine and firewood to a poor man "on the feast of Stephen" that is December 26, the night after Christmas.
Sts. Cosmos and Damian, Vincent de Paul and Wenceslas, orate pro nobis!