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26th Sunday – C 

26th Sunday – C

Dear friends in Christ,

 

Today’s readings are clearly about God’s command to love our neighbor and how obeying that command provides for our eternal salvation.

Amos was a prophet of the poor, who preached against materialism and the oppression of the poor in the Northern Kingdom of Israel and also against the complacency of the people in the Southern Kingdom. In today’s First Reading, he cried out against the people of the South, “Woe to the complacent in Zion.” These complacent were living overindulgent and over comfortable lives while paying no attention to the coming destruction of the land. He said that because of their social and moral corruption, “they shall be the first to go into exile.” Unfortunately, they remained indifferent.

In the Gospel, Jesus told the story of the rich man who lived an overindulgent life. This man died and went to a place of torment, where he suffered greatly with hunger and thirst. He was punished, not because he was rich nor because he maltreated the poor Lazarus in any way, but only because he did not pay any attention to the poor man lying in front of his house. Thus, he was condemned, not because luxury is evil but that luxury turned him into an insensitive and indifferent man. In this story, Jesus says that failing to do good to someone in need is not only unchristian but also unhuman, as the Book of Proverbs points it out: “Refuse no one the good on which he has a claim when it is in your power to do it for him,” because God, the Creator and Father of all, has created everything for everyone; therefore, all have a claim to what is good.

The truth is, sooner or later everybody rich or poor will certainly come to an end.  Thus Jesus reminds that our eternal destiny depends very much on our love of God and how we use our possessions to love a neighbor in need. The Book of Sirach also offers this good advice: “In all you do remember the end of your life and you will never sin.”

 

Fr. Joe