Today’s readings again are directed to believers, communities of faith. As in last week’s reading, Amos confronts us with a condemnation of those whose lives are focused on pleasure and self-absorption. The psalm contrasts that focus with the Lord’s—justice for the oppressed; food the hungry; freedom for captives; sight to the blind; raising of those who are bowed down; loving the just; protecting strangers, orphans, and the widow; and by doing so, thwarting the way of the wicked. Timothy urges the pursuit of righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Luke tells the familiar tale of the wealthy man and the poor beggar at his doorstep, who experience life very differently in this world and in the next. We are once again being given clear indications about how God intends for us to live our lives.
There is no subtlety in the readings today. The contrasts are even starker than last week, the outcome more certain. Amos, the psalmist and Timothy each make clear how to live the life God intends for us. In Luke’s Gospel, an unnamed man from a wealthy family and a poor beggar named Lazarus live very different lives on earth and find very different fates after death. Yet even after death, the wealthy man asks for someone to warn his brothers, again thinking only of himself and his family. Not even the suffering of hell can bring him to focus on the needs of those outside his immediate family.
The readings today make it clear that the outcome of our afterlife rests on the choices we make in this life. The choice for the rich man could not have been clearer. That choice sat outside his door every day of his life. While he lived in luxury, at his very doorstep lay Lazarus, a poor sick man tended to only by dogs in the street. (The rich man has no name. Only Lazarus is named.) Yet this obvious opportunity for the rich man to choose the way of the Lord is lost to him in the distracting abundance of worldly riches.
The choice is clear and the signs are obvious; we need only pull our attention away from the distractions of wealth, abundance, power, security, and safety to see what we must do. It is not easy to do, and for some, not possible in this world or the next. In the end both the rich man and Lazarus die. That is the fate of all mortal beings. It is our fate as well. The choices we make in this world shape the quality and
Today’s Readings: Am 6:1a, 4–7; Ps 146:7–10; 1 Tm 6:11–16; Lk 16:19–31
Also in this bulletin:
- Don’t miss this weekend’s Fatima Celebration
- Get Connected! Communications Forum Sept. 28 and Oct. 2
- Faith of Our Fathers Still open to new members
- Last chance to join St. Mary’s Bible Study.
- Evangelization Retreat Oct. 15-16!
- We are called to form our Catholic Conscience
- Deadline approaching to sign up for New Zealand trip
- Bethlehem Center’s Urban Revival set to open in October!