Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 138 (NAB Translation)
This week’s first reading is from the book of the prophet Amos. Amos was a shepherd from Tekoa (a village in the southern kingdom of Judah), but preached to the rich in the northern kingdom of Israel. He preached at a time when the rich were very complacent. They enjoyed the benefits of status and privilege while exploiting the poor and their worship was superficial and lacking in sincerity and spiritual commitment. Amos’ warning message is just as relevant to our own pleasure seeking and materialistic society as it was to ancient Israel. The point is that we must never let our own comfort blind us to our obligations to help our less fortunate brothers and sisters. This passage should stir our consciences to remember our duty to seek and to help those less fortunate than ourselves.
The response for this Psalm is from our Gospel: “Praise the Lord, my soul.”
This week’s second reading from Saint Paul’s first letter to Timothy is an exhortation to continue to defend the faith. Since Timothy was a man dedicated to God through the ministerial priesthood, it was important to lead by example. As a witness to Christ, Timothy was to display a high degree of virtue and perseverance, in imitation of Christ and the eternal nature of his reign. Although these words were addressed to St. Timothy, they could well be directed to any serious disciple of Jesus.
In this week’s Gospel from St. Luke, we get a glimpse into the “mind of Christ” as it relates to the love of neighbor– specifically the duties of people who are well-off toward those who are poor. It is clear that those who enjoy good fortune and prosperity have an even greater obligation to help care for those who are suffering and to help the poor. This brings to mind Luke 12:36 that says “to whom much is given, much will be expected”. Two theological ideas are also reflected in this parable. First, we are reminded that the soul survives after death, therefore what we do on earth has eternal consequences. The second is that it is wrong to interpret one’s material prosperity in this life as a reward for being righteous. What we receive on earth may or may not be a reward; however, we always have an obligation to use whatever we are given to honor God and to love our neighbor.
Reflection question from Bishop Vásquez
Today’s Gospel addresses a fundamental question of how we use our resources of time, talent and treasure. Do we use them selfishly or do we use them to assist others in need, as well as to build up the Kingdom of God? Have we listened to God speaking to us in the Scriptures inviting us to relationship and service??