Sunday, September 30, 2007
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Amos 6:1, 4-7
2nd Reading: 1 Timothy 6:11-16
Gospel: Luke 16:19-31
Jesus said to the Pharisees, "Once there was a rich man who dressed in purple and fine linen and feasted every day. At his gate lay Lazarus, a poor man covered with sores, who longed to eat just the scraps falling from the rich man's table. Even dogs used to come and lick his sores. It happened that the poor man died and angels carried him to take his place with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. From hell where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham afar off, and with him Lazarus at rest.
"He called out: 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus with the tip of his finger dipped in water to cool my tongue, for I suffer so much in this fire.'
"Abraham replied: 'My son, remember that in your lifetime you were well-off while the lot of Lazarus was misfortune. Now he is in comfort and you are in agony. But that is not all. Between your place and ours a great chasm has been fixed, so that no one can cross over from here to you or from your side to us.'
"The rich man implored once more: 'Then I beg you, Father Abraham, to send Lazarus to my father's house where my five brothers live. Let him warn them so that they may not end up in this place of torment.' Abraham replied: 'They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.' But the rich man said: 'No, Father Abraham. But if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
"Abraham said: 'If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the grave.'"
Again Amos goes after the rich, the complacent, those who feast, who live luxuriously, wasting money on clothes, shelter, feasts, pleasures, hedonism. They care nothing about the collapse of Joseph-the poor of the land. So they will be the first to go into exile and know hardship. Their insensitivity and wanton revelry will soon be over. What do we waste billions of dollars on, while the world starves, goes without water, lives in misery and violence? We are called the men and women of God. Do we look like what Timothy has been called to practice and witness to in his world? God gives life to all. Do we make sure that all have life by our faithfulness to God, our steadfastness in everlasting life that we share with others? This is our charge and the way we fulfill our profession of faith-by giving/sharing life with all.
We hear the story of Dives (rich) and Lazarus who is miserably poor. What separates them in their lives/religion is a gate/fence. Lazarus longs for scraps and has only dogs for company and Dives is unaware and cares not for even his own (Jewish countryman). They both die and Lazarus knows the fullness of life and Dives knows only torment. He still does not see Lazarus as a beloved child of God, only a servant to help him out. He cries out to send someone to tell his brothers. But Abraham (father of faith) tells him sternly that his brothers/like him had the prophets to listen to but they didn't. They won't listen to someone who comes back from the dead. Have we listened to the prophets? If we haven't then have we really ever listened to the prophet Jesus who has come back to life?