Theme: PRACTICE JUSTICE AND CHARITY TOWARDS THE POOR AND NEEDY
- Amos 6:1. 4-7;
- Psalm 145:6-10. R/ v. 2;
- 1 Timothy 6:11-16
- Luke 16:19-31
Today is the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The readings today follow the theme of the readings of last Sunday, that is, “Practice Justice and Charity towards the Poor and the Needy”. Last Sunday the first reading from the prophet Amos told us that the rich and the powerful oppressed and exploited the poor and the weak. They practiced social injustice towards the poor and the weak. The prophet Amos preached against social injustice. Amos was a prophet of social justice! Last Sunday the first reading ended with this warning:
“The Lord swears it by the pride of Jacob, ‘Never will I forget a single thing you have done.’” (Am 8:7; SM)
The first reading of this Sunday is also from the prophet Amos. The first reading tells us that the rich and powerful who eat and drink, and sing and play music, and anoint themselves with perfumed oil, and enjoy themselves, will be exiled by the Assyrians. Thus the first reading ends with this warning:
“That is why they will be the first to be exiled; the sprawlers’ revelry is over.” (Am 6:7; SM)
Last Sunday the responsorial psalm told us to praise God who raises the poor:
“Praise the Lord, who raises the poor”. (Ps 112:1. 7; SM)
This Sunday the responsorial psalm tells us to praise God who is just to those who are oppressed, who gives bread to the hungry, who sets prisoners free, who gives sight to the blind, who raises up those who are bowed down, who loves the just, who protects the stranger, and who upholds the widow and orphan. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:
“My soul, give praise to the Lord”. (Ps 145:2; SM)
Last Sunday the “long form” of the gospel told us to practice charity:
“And so I tell you this: use money, tainted as it is, to win you friends, and thus make sure that when it fails you, they will welcome you into the tents of eternity.” (Lk 16:9; SM)
That is, to make friends with the poor and to share with the poor!
This Sunday the gospel also tells us to practice charity! The gospel today tells us of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus! The sin of the rich man was that he did not practice charity towards the poor man Lazarus! The gospel today tells us of the parable of the rich man who ate and drank sumptuously everyday, while the poor man Lazarus lay at his gate with nothing to eat or drink, not even the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table! Only dogs came to lick his wounds, that is, he was an outcast!
But when Lazarus died he went to heaven! The rich man also died and went to hell! And in his torment in hell he asked Abraham to send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water to quench his thirst. But Abraham replied that the gulf between heaven and hell was too wide for anyone to cross from one side to the other.
In the second part of the gospel the rich man asked Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his five brothers so that they will not come to hell. But Abraham replied that they have Moses and the prophets, they can listen to them. The rich man then told Abraham that they will listen if someone comes to them from the dead! But Abraham replied that if they do not listen to Moses and the prophets they will not listen even if someone rises from the dead! That is, if they do not listen to the Scriptures they will not listen to Jesus even when he rises from the dead!
The gospel today tells us to listen to the Scriptures and to the Risen Lord and to practice charity towards the poor and the needy!
The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday but the second reading has something very important to tell us! The second reading tells us that we must do the will of God and we must not commit sin, until the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ! (1 Tm 6:13-14; SM) The best way to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is to pray, to do the will of God, to avoid sin, and to be detached from this world!
Coincidentally, the verse that comes immediately before the second reading and the three verses that comes immediately after the second reading follow the theme of the Sunday! They tell us about money! Thus we read:
“‘The love of money is the root of all evils’ and there are some who, pursuing it, have wandered away from the faith and so given their souls any number of fatal wounds.” (1 Tm 6:10; NJB)
“Instruct those who are rich in this world’s goods that they should not be proud and should set their hopes not on money, which is untrustworthy, but on God who gives us richly all that we need for our happiness. They are to do good and be rich in good works, generous in giving and always ready to share – this is the way they can amass a good capital sum for the future if they want to possess the only life that is real.” (1 Tm 6: 17-19; NJB)
Today we thank God for all our material blessings and we ask the Lord to help us practice justice and charity towards the poor and the needy! God bless you! Amen!
Today we also celebrate “World Day of Migrants”! Today we thank God for our “Migrant School” and we ask the Lord to continue to bless our “Migrant School” so that we can continue to love and serve our migrant children! God bless you! Amen!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.