Greetings on this the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: AM 6:1A, 4-7; PS 146:7, 8-9, 9-10; 1 TM 6:11-16; LK 16:19-31
Didn’t We Do Amos Last Week?
Yes, we did indeed. The readings on the 26th Sunday in ordinary time are taken from all the same books and letters as the readings on the 25th Sunday in ordinary time. It has the same type of theme as well which simply stated is how we act matters the most.
The Prophet Amos’s ministry was during the time of the reign of Jeroboam II, a gifted warrior and commander. It was a wealthy time. Military might was supported by Assyria powerful over-lordship and military dominance of the region. Israel focused on rooting out all foreigners and reestablishing their national boundaries (yes, their version of the Wall). Everything was great. The Northern Kingdom was very prosperous and they thought themselves the blessed of God because they possessed both material wealth and religious dominance of the Jewish people.
Amos interrupted their self-congratulations in two ways.
- The wealth they have amassed was from the acts of sin. They thought him crazy. He prophesized this wealth would be lost.
- The shrine at Bethel Amos says was contrary to God’s will because its construction was contrary to God’s will and did not produce the result of moral improvement. Bethel and Gilgal were emblematic to the sins against the light granted to her, Israel. She instead was in darkness. Their interior morality and justice did not conform to the external ritual worship professed.
Again we are reminded by the psalmist that God’s work is that which we should follow.
Like the Lord, we should:
- secure justice for the oppressed,
- gives food to the hungry,
- set captives free,
- give sight to the blind,
- raise up those who were bowed down,
- be just,
- protects strangers; and
- Sustain the fatherless and the widow.
Letter to Timothy
But you, man of God, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.
When I talk to police officers and paramedics about car accidents they tell me the most often spoken words are:
He came out of nowhere.
He came out of nowhere is the most often said refrain when interviewing someone who had a car accident and, in particular, the one who hit another’s car.
We say things like that but in our heart we know that is not true. Nobody fell out of the sky right in front of us. Somehow, somehow, we did not see them. In driver’s education classes they talk about ‘blind spots’. They train new drivers on how to be, first, aware you cannot see everything and, secondly, how you can see everything so as to avoid an accident. It takes effort. Do you recall how? Do you practice ‘seeing’ when you cannot see at first when driving your car?
In today’s Gospel reading we learn of the great blindedness of the Rich Man. Like in Amos’s time, he was very rich. He had all the finest things. He even went to Church/Shrine to worship, externally. Yet internally he was greatly blind. He knew of Lazarus, his situation and poverty. He simply chose to be blind to it.
Even still this is not the blindedness we refer to in this Gospel. His blindedness is that he knew his religion and followed it externally but he did not know the internal truth of the Lord. He lacked the desire to be like the Lord.
He believed that it is God’s fault he was blind.
You see he dialogs well with Abraham. He knew Abraham as Father. He knows mercy and kindness (his water request). He knows of Moses and the Prophets. He even has foresight of compassion for his brothers. The 5 brothers symbolize those who follow the same teachings and ways of life the Rich Man followed and now he wants to warn them so they do not fall into his same condition. He is implying that God did not provide enough guidance to avoid this outcome!
A Better Way
He had no repentance for ignoring Lazarus. He reflected not on his refusal to do the things of God that the psalmist described for us today.
He wanted for his family the sign of a resurrected Lazarus to return and warn his brothers. Yet Abraham warns him and Jesus is telling us that even a Resurrected Lazarus/Jesus will not be convincing for some. And, Rich Man, you already had heaven within your grasp if you only followed Moses and the Prophets.
It’s not the teaching it the seeing that is the problem.
The message is clear. Know we are blind. Pray you can see what matters to God. Pray you do like God does. Avoid the accident.
Peace be with you,