Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to the Pharisees:
"There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man's table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.'
'My child, remember that you received
what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go
from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’
He said, 'Then I beg you, father,
send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers,
so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.'
But Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.'
He said, 'Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
Then Abraham said, 'If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'"
A short homily on this text.
It is not uncommon to see the Church criticized for commenting on social and political issues.
· The argument - politics and economics and social questions - belong to the secular world.
· These are issues for governments and public forums to decide.
· The Church should stick to matters of religion - faith – prayer – worship of God – and only behind church doors.
This is the argument is one put forward by the secularists of today. But a quick look at the gospels –and you realize that our religion – which we received from Christ and which is practiced in the Church, is all about living one’s life in this world, the world of politics and economics and social questions.
· We understand well, that our existence in the world is not some random happening of chance.
· We are here by design. We are to be co-creators with God – to make this world a rich and beautiful home for all generations and for all peoples of the world.
· We realize that we do not own the world – we are stewards of creation – charged with the responsibility of taking care of it.
· When things in this world are not going well – the role and responsibility of all believers is to speak up. It’s the prophetic role we all have been given.
Today we see how Pope Francis is directing the church to once again focus on its role as prophet and good steward in the world – not only by what he is saying – but by the personal example he shows by what he does.
If the prophet’s voice falls silent – situation in world begins to resemble situation we see in this gospel passage. The rich becoming richer – poor, poorer, and the world’s resources are ravaged. A recent study by the New Economics Institute, (see below) – revealed that 80% - people of US have access to only 7% of the nation’s wealth – 20% control 93%. (Similar figures can be found in Canada as well.)
The gospels teach us, that our eternal life will be based on how we have lived life in this world. The values that surround us can so easily have a corrupting influence. We must ever be vigilant, having our conscience formed by the wisdom of the gospels.
Matthew 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Each of us, by our faith, share in this commission – to be good stewards of this world, God’s good creation, and to be the prophetic voice of reason and responsibility for all the world to hear when things are going wrong.
Distribution of wealth in USA