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Autor: Fr. Richard Gill, LC | Fuente: Sacerdos Institute
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C
September 30, 2007. Homily. Readings: Amos 6:1a, 4–7; 1 Timothy 6:11–16; Luke 16:19–31.

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle C
Readings: Amos 6: 1a, 4–7; 1 Timothy 6: 11–16; Luke 16: 19–31
Author: Fr. Richard Gill, LC

Amos condemns the wanton revelry and godlessness of the Israelites of his time, and Paul exhorts Timothy to lead a life of piety and integrity. In this there is a theme of acting uprightly before God and living authentically what we should live, no matter what the circumstances. When we encounter a person with that sort of integrity – the man who does the right thing day in and day out, whether or not he is being monitored – we always get the impression that there is something more than just a good man at work. We know we are in the presence of a man who lives his life in God´s sight.

The Gospel invites us to live with concern and true charity for those around us who are our brothers in Christ, and to not be blind or deaf to the way of life God asks us to live. So many people go through life only trying to be "good" and not deliberately hurt anyone, but essentially living self-centered lives. Such a person grows gradually more and more oblivious to the presence of God and others around him.

The rich man in Luke 16 was not condemned merely because he was rich. Nowhere does Jesus condemn someone for his wealth. Rather, it was his selfish use of his goods and his lack of care for the poor that led to his condemnation. Riches carry with them a responsibility to use them for the service of others and this is a grave obligation. Material things are a gift from God, and one must use them to serve God and others.

What becomes clear in the story Jesus tells is not only that misuse of worldly goods can lead to condemnation for all eternity, but also that it is easy for such a person to become blinded to the truth about himself. The rich man pleads from hell that Lazarus be sent back to warn his brothers not to fall into the same sin he did so they may not be condemned. Obviously, this is not to be taken literally, because no one in hell has any love or compassion for those whom they have left behind. The point is, as Abraham tells him, "let them listen to Moses and the prophets," his brothers already have access to the truth God wants them to live; it has already been revealed and they already know it in their hearts. The rich man protests that, no, if only someone would return from the dead, they would repent, but Abraham says that if they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead.

This last word from Abraham refers to Jesus. Even with the miracle of the Resurrection, many still do not believe. What is needed is a heart ready to listen, to act, to change, to repent. What chokes off the voice of Moses and the prophets all too often is the attachment to material things, to pleasure, and the self-centeredness that leads one to spend all his time on himself, rather than look to serve the rest. For such people the Resurrection, or any miracle for that matter, will do little good.

God could force our obedience with impressive displays of power. Instead, he invites us to freely cooperate with him, to willingly, voluntarily, and lovingly accept his invitation. He respects our freedom and our choices, even when they lead us into tragedy. He does not force us to love him.

We must keep a close watch on our use of the world´s goods so that we never become enslaved or blinded by them to the point we forget their true purpose: to be put at the service of the needs of our brothers and sisters. Material goods, if not kept in check, become those "false gods" that blind us to the true God of our salvation.

A good way to make sure material things are not crowding God out of our life is to commit ourselves to sacrificial giving or tithing. The first 10% or more of what we make should be considered God´s money. We give the first fruits back to God and live on what remains. Give to the poor, to the Church, to charities that are really effective in doing good, rather than just give it to anyone who asks.

This is the stance we should take toward material wealth: it is really only on loan from God. It is passing away and should never be the source of our security. Our hope is in the Lord. We use what we need and keep a healthy austerity in our lives.

The New Testament invites us not only to give a tithe – to give only 10% can be easy if we are very wealthy – but to give of our substance, not of our abundance. This will remind us never to be attached to material things. It gives freedom to our spirit and helps us live without the worries and preoccupations of others who constantly pursue material wealth. Living like this keeps our souls and hearts open to listen to what God wants of us, unlike the rich man and his brothers, who did not listen to Moses and the prophets.


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El lugar de encuentro de los católicos en la red