Sunday readings in brief 26 C
Ams 6:1,4-7; Ps 145(146); 1 Tim 6:11-16; Lk 16:19-31
The haves and the have not
Dear friends, today is the 26th Sunday in Ordinary time. The readings of today talk about the rich and the poor or if you would, the ‘haves and the have not’. In Ps 24:1 we read, “The earth and all its fullness belong to the Lord: the whole world and all that dwells in it”. In Genesis 1 we also read that after he had made everything in heaven and on earth and saw it was good, God create man and woman and entrusted it to them to care for it. It means that nothing on earth belongs to us human beings we are but only trustees.
Therefore, the question of some having more than they need while others do not have enough to live on is only because of greed, selfishness, and unjust systems that favour some and prevent others from rising. The general message of today’s reading is that this situation is not God’s plan and on judgment day everyone will reap what they have planted.
In the first reading, The Prophet Amos warns the rich of Zion who lived in luxury at the expense of the poor. Last Sunday we heard how the rich suppressed the poor by making life too expensive by stealing from them and buying them as slaves. There is a middle-age refrain that says: “if one is too rich and has more than he needs, either him or his father was a thief”.
In the Gospel passage, Jesus tells the story of one unnamed rich man who lived in luxury and the poor Lazarus who fed himself the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. The unnamed rich man just like the unnamed disciple among the two who were going back to Emmaus after the death of Jesus could be you and I. Whenever this passage is read, we very comfortably identify ourselves with the poor Lazarus whereas we have all in common with the rich man. The rich man was not condemned because of his richness but because he lacked solidarity with Lazarus who was in grave need.
I have heard people say, “all I have is out of my sweat and it belongs to me”. These have the same mentality as the “Rich Fool” in Lk 12, who told his heart to relax because he had all he needed, only to be told he was to die that night. Again, this parable should not turn others into lazy beggars thinking they will be taken up to Abraham’s bosom. Unfortunately, there are those who misinterpret the Scriptures and misguide others. God instructed us to till the land to earn our living and not to spend all the time on our knees in worship places begging for miracles to feed ourselves. “He who does not work shall not eat” (2 Thes 3:10).
In the Second reading, St. Paul urges us to fight the good fight and earn ourselves a place in heaven. The vocation to life that God has given to all of us is not passive but active. God has given us different gifts so that working together in communion we may build a community where no one has more than he needs while the other lacks basic needs.
“They have Moses and the Prophets, let them listen to them”. This is the reply that Abraham gave to the rich man who was being tormented in hell because of his unkindness to the poor Lazarus. The Moses’ and the Prophets of today are the people anointed to be ministers of the Gospel in our communities. It is for our own good that we listen to what they tell us and comply. Jesus preached the Good News of the Kingdom of God and when he was ascending to heaven commanded his disciples to continue preaching the same. These are the ones that are mandated to interpret the values of the kingdom to us in our times. Jesus will not return to preach again but rather to judge the living and the dead (2 Tim 4:1).
Dear friends, as we celebrate the day set aside for the Lord, let us reflect upon our lives and see if we show solidarity with the needy around us. All we have is God’s gift and we will leave it all here on earth when we die.
Have a blessed Sunday.
Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD (kindly visit: svdkentan.com)