On this Sunday we hear about the fundamental need for all who follow Christ to...
Reflections on the readings for the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (September 25, 2022): AM 6:1,4-7; PS 146:7,8-9,9-10;1 TM 6:11-16; LK 16:19-31
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
offer charity, mercy, and justice to all, most especially those in greatest need.
St. Luke’s Gospel is known for expressing Jesus’ concern for the welfare of those who are poor, for those who are outcasts, for those in greatest need of mercy. In the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus we hear about a destitute man lying in a doorway, covered with sores, and abandoned by others -- and the person who could most readily ease his sufferings. That rich man lived richly and contentedly in that house without a thought for Lazarus, although he even knew his name. Then both men die. Angels take Lazarus to rest on the bosom of Abraham, while the formerly rich man goes to the netherworld. He is so lacking in understanding that he wants Abraham to let Lazarus alleviate his thirst. When Abraham explains the impossibility of this request: “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’” (Luke 16:27-31). Every one of us on earth has opportunities to help our brothers and sisters who suffer in body or spirit. Not one of us can use the excuse that the life of another does not affect us.
From the earliest days of the Church, we have continually recognized the necessity for all Christians to offer mercy and justice to all, especially those in greatest need. Pope St. Gregory the Great frequently addressed this issue. He said that those with wealth, “are wont to sometimes say. ‘We use what has been granted us; we do not seek what belongs to others and, if we do nothing worthy of the reward of mercy, we still commit no wrong.’” But St. Gregory reminded them, and us, that “When we give to the poor what is essential for them, we are not doing them a personal favor, but rather restoring to them what is theirs. More than an act of charity, we are fulfilling a duty of justice.” Those who are poor in the possessions of the world and those who are have much need not be strangers or adversaries. Every person has much to offer to others, if only we are willing to give and to receive from the heart. If only we are willing to love as Christ loves us.