Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
Good things came your way, just as bad things came the way of Lazarus. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony.
The Word This Week
Following on from last week (You cannot be the slave of both God and money) we see a practical illustration of what this means. The division between rich and poor was very striking at the time of Jesus: popular understanding, however, said that to be rich was a blessing from God. Jesus reminds people that riches carry their own responsibility the duty to notice the poor man, especially when he lies at your own gate. In this parable, Jesus is subtly attacking the peoples lack of acceptance of the teaching of the prophets They have Moses and the prophets , but they obviously havent listened to them. The twist in the last line is powerful: they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead. Since our world still sees a division between rich and poor, how true those words have become!
Notes for Readers
Amos proclaiming justice again (see last week). If you enjoy poetry and imagery, and delight in words, you should love this reading! It will definitely need preparation out loud, since there are several tongue-twisters hidden herein. Look at the Gospel first: in the story of the rich man and Lazarus Jesus does not go into detail about the lifestyle of the rich man: we can take what Amos gives us in this reading as that description. This is a wonderful piece of poetry not because it rhymes or is in metre, but because the words chosen are rich and sometimes surprising. Think: why say ensconced rather than living? Or sprawling rather than lying or sitting? Use these words to create a sense of Amoss sadness and indignation at those who do not care at all. Let the last line have a determined finality God will do something about this.
Paul brings his first letter to Timothy to a close with some personal advice on how to live out the faith he has received. While this advice is given to Timothy as a bishop, it is also given to each of us. The first few lines are quite straightforward simple advice, clearly given. When we get to Now, before God we suddenly find ourselves in a single sentence to the end of the reading! You will have to look carefully at this: the second part is printed in the Lectionary in sense lines which shows us that Saint Paul is probably quoting a hymn or prayer: when you get to this part, take it line by line. Let the reading move from gentle, fatherly advice, into the hymn of praise of Christ, who spoke as a witness for the truth. Pause for a moment after the Amen, before you end with This is the Word of the Lord.