XXVI Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sep. 25, 2016
Dear brothers and sisters,
The first and second reading this Sunday show us two opposing ways of life. The first is condemned by the prophet Amos, a way of life centered in unlimited self-indulgence. Its gravest sin is not self-indulgence in itself, it is in forgetting and neglecting those who suffer. And so, the prophet warns them: those who act in this way will end up suffering in a way similar to those people they are neglecting right now. The second way of life is completely the opposite. Saint Paul exhorts Timothy to behave like a “man of God”, and Paul lists the qualities he needs to embody: righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. These are qualities of somebody who lives their life giving witness to their faith in Jesus Christ, this is what we are offered with the second way of life.
Jesus is the way and He leads us to the fullness of life, a life in complete communion with God and our brothers and sisters. This communion begins here and now, in this life, and whoever believes in Jesus cannot be idle or worried only about his/her wellbeing, be it physical or spiritual. We need to work in building bridges of communion and not remain unmoved by the suffering around us. We need to tear down the walls that divide human beings and are the cause of suffering.
The gravest sin of the Rich Man is not the fact that he dined sumptuously every day. His gravest sin was his inability to feel compassion for the need of Lazarus’, who laid at his doorstep waiting for scraps. The situation Jesus describes in this parable is clear and simple. God is not to blame for Lazarus’ hunger and sufferings. Life is serious business, we shouldn’t take it jokingly, or spend our life from feast to feast. This life limited in time and space is the right moment to assume our responsibilities, the moment when we decide our fate. Whatever we do with this time and space that God has given completely to us, will have consequences for ever. Those bridges we need to build instead of dividing walls, bridges of righteousness, mercy, help and compassion will not be available to us once our journey is complete. True religious life is a call to that seriousness of life, a responsible freedom, a witness of faith, which help us build the road that joins us to our neighbors and takes us to eternal life.
God has not left us alone. We have the guide we need in our consciences and the Word of God, these guides help us make the right decisions, they are the way to overcome the distances, a way to find the road which leads us to the Kingdom of God. Truly there are difficult situations when it is not easy to find the right solution. If we act with good will, what’s important is that we try to do the best we can. With the lights of the parable, we can go back to the first and second reading and analyze which way of life is more like our own, and make decisions which may help us build bridges instead of creating distances. The voice of the law and the prophets which helps us in this task is the voice of the Church, through which God speaks to us every day.
Fr. Jose Gerardo Alberto, M.Sp.S
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