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Showing posts with label Amos. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Amos. Show all posts

Sunday, September 29, 2019

A Homily - The Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)


First Reading - Amos 6:1, 4-7 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 145(146):7-10 ©
Second Reading – 1 Timothy 6:11-16 ©
Gospel Acclamation – John 10:27
Alternative Acclamation – 2 Corinthians 8:9
The Gospel According to Luke 16:19 - 31 ©


(NJB)


Listen to the prophet. His words were never more true than they are today:

Woe to you Israel.

Woe to the callous hearted, woe to those who cannot see God looking back at them through the eyes of their neighbor, through the iron slats of the fences they build to divide us from one another. Woe to those who cannot see God in the faces of your brothers and sisters living in the occupied territories of Palestine.

Woe to powerful, woe to those who deny justice to the oppressed.

Consider this:

God is the author of our salvation, there is no other. Do not trust in the power of princes and kings, they will not deliver you, and God is neither a respecter of persons, or of nations.

The life of a human being, of all human beings, the time of humanity on Earth is little more than a brief flash in the night. We are born, we breathe and we are gone.

 The Earth itself will not survive the sun.

Consider the words of the prophet, and the teaching of Jesus who points to the way; happy are those who assist God in the divine work of mercy and justice:

Lift up the oppressed,
          Wherever they are
Feed the hungry
Free the prisoner
Teach the ignorant,
          Wherever they are

Advocate for those who need an advocate, care for those who cannot care for themselves. Find those who are lost in their wickedness, and bring them home.

The Church began to deviate from the way on the day it was founded. As soon as Jesus died, before Christians were even called Christians the falling out among them was intense. It was immediate.

The Church was divided in doctrine, concerning questions about the truth, regarding the knowledge of God, the possession of riches and the distribution of alms.

It was like any other human institution, because it was just another human institution.

The epistle from today exemplifies this. It promotes the lie that the rewards of the faith are transactional; if give your wealth to the church, you will have a reward in heaven.

Be mindful!

The sheep do not choose the shepherd, but rather, it is the shepherd who chooses the sheep.

For Christians; Jesus is the shepherd, and the Shepherd is God; the creator of the universe.

There is just the one shepherd; just the one sheepfold and whether it make sense to us or not, whether it contradicts the teaching and the tradition of the Church, it is to the one Shepherd that we all belong.

Know this!

Listen for the voice of the shepherd, and do not trouble yourself with how the shepherd speaks to you, in what language, in what text, with how the shepherd speaks to your sister or your brother, to your neighbors or the stranger. The shepherd is speaking to them to, and they are listening as they are able (or willing).

Everyone that is, everyone without exception follows in the way of God, there is no other way. Do not trouble yourself if you do not understand the journey that another person is on, God is guiding them, just as God is guiding you.

If you resist, God will be patient, God will wait, just as God waits for everyone. God, Jesus, the shepherd, they speak to us of love, they are love, like love they are patient and they are kind.

God will not lose a single one of us. Neither will any one of us lose God. No matter what; God is with us, because there is not place, not a single place where God is not.

Remember this!

Jesus is not a lord. He was rich in spiritual gifts, he shared those gifts with many, with all whom he encountered and in sharing he became richer in those gifts.

He was our friend, he lived with us as a friend, spoke to us as a friend, loved us as a friend, and died for the sake of his friends.

Remember that as you read the scriptures and be on the look out for those passages in scripture which contradict that fundamental truth, such as the reading for today.

The reading from Luke is not a parable, it is not meant to teach anything but fear. It is given as a means of justifying a denial of charity to those whom the first Christians, especially in those communities outside of Palestine, in their desire to excluded from the good works of the way, something Jesus himself would never have done.

These are the clues by which we can see that this is a false interpretation of Jesus’ teaching.

The writing is heavily mythologized, representing imagery of the afterlife, depicting Lazarus in the Bosom of Abraham (imagined here as an analogy for Elysium), the abode of the blessed dead. Be mindful of the reference to Hades, and the description of a gulf between it and the blessed realm.

Understand that Jesus did not speak in concrete terms regarding the afterlife.

Another clue is in the way that the author riffs on the name of Lazarus, which is the name of a man who we know Jesus loved. The author builds up the narrative in a way that draws a clear connection between Lazarus and the tales of the Syro-Phoenician woman, who also, like a dog, asks for scraps at the table of Christ.

In this way the author connects everyone who his contemporaries viewed as an outsider; seeing them as such on the basis of nationalism and ethnicity, to Lazarus who was beloved by Jesus; and was the man for whom Jesus wept, who he raised from the dead.

The central message of the reading provides the final clue. The message that is given is that Jesus is content to let people die in their sins, suffer in eternity, and never have recourse to salvation. This message is in stark contrast to his teaching on love, forgiveness, and mercy.

Be mindful of the way the prejudices of human beings, they were no different in the era when the Gospels were first written, when they were allowed to creep into the narrative of Jesus’ life and to rob us from the truth.


First Reading - Amos 6:1, 4-7 ©

Woe to Those who Live in Luxury

The almighty Lord says this:

Woe to those ensconced so snugly in Zion and to those who feel so safe on the mountain of Samaria, those famous men of this first of nations to whom the House of Israel goes as client.
Lying on ivory beds and sprawling on their divans, they dine on lambs from the flock, and stall-fattened veal; they bawl to the sound of the harp, they invent new instruments of music like David, they drink wine by the bowlful, and use the finest oil for anointing themselves,
but about the ruin of Joseph they do not care at all.

That is why they will be the first to be exiled; the sprawlers’ revelry is over.


Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 145(146):7-10 ©

My soul, give praise to the Lord.

Alleluia!

It is the Lord who keeps faith for ever,
  who is just to those who are oppressed.
It is he who gives bread to the hungry,
  the Lord, who sets prisoners free.

My soul, give praise to the Lord.

Alleluia!

It is the Lord who gives sight to the blind,
  who raises up those who are bowed down.
It is the Lord who loves the just,
  the Lord, who protects the stranger.

My soul, give praise to the Lord.

Alleluia!

The Lord upholds the widow and orphan
  but thwarts the path of the wicked.
The Lord will reign for ever,
  Zion’s God, from age to age.

My soul, give praise to the Lord.

Alleluia!


Second Reading – 1 Timothy 6:11-16 ©

Do All that You Have Been Told, Until the Appearing of the Lord

As a man dedicated to God, you must aim to be saintly and religious, filled with faith and love, patient and gentle. Fight the good fight of the faith and win for yourself the eternal life to which you were called when you made your profession and spoke up for the truth in front of many witnesses. Now, before God the source of all life and before Christ, who spoke up as a witness for the truth in front of Pontius Pilate, I put to you the duty of doing all that you have been told, with no faults or failures, until the Appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who at the due time will be revealed by God, the blessed and only Ruler of all, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, who alone is immortal, whose home is in inaccessible light, whom no man has seen and no man is able to see: to him be honour and everlasting power. Amen.


Gospel Acclamation – John 10:27

Alleluia, alleluia!

The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice,
says the Lord,
I know them and they follow me.

Alleluia!

Alternative Acclamation – 2 Corinthians 8:9

Alleluia, alleluia!

Jesus Christ was rich,
but he became poor for your sake,
to make you rich out of his poverty.

Alleluia!


The Gospel According to Luke 16:19 - 31 ©

Dives and Lazarus

Jesus said to the Pharisees, ‘There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day. And at his gate there lay a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to fill himself with the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even came and licked his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.

  ‘In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus in his bosom. So he cried out, “Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames.” “My son,” Abraham replied “remember that during your life 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. But that is not all: between us and you a great gulf has been fixed, to stop anyone, if he wanted to, crossing from our side to yours, and to stop any crossing from your side to ours.”

  ‘The rich man replied, “Father, I beg you then to send Lazarus to my father’s house, since I have five brothers, to give them warning so that they do not come to this place of torment too.” “They have Moses and the prophets,” said Abraham “let them listen to them..” “Ah no, father Abraham,” said the rich man “but if someone comes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Then Abraham said to him, “If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead.”’


26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Sunday, September 22, 2019

A Homily - 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)


First Reading - Amos 8:4-7 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 112(113):1-2, 4-8 ©
Second Reading – 1 Timothy 2:1-8 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Acts 16:14
Alternative Acclamation – 2 Corinthians 8:9
The Gospel According to Luke 16:1 - 13 ©


(NJB)


Know this:

God does not keep a tally of our good deeds and our bad deeds, at the end of our lives God does not set us on a scale and weigh the one against the other to determine if we are worthy.

God loves us. The creator of the universe has a plan for our salvation, for the good and the bad alike.

But know this as well, God knows what we have done, God knows all of our intentions, God knows whether we gave to the needy or stole from them.

God knows why we do what we do, and how we justify it to ourselves.

God knows and God remembers.

The creator of the universe does not intervene in the lives of individuals, or in the course of human history. God desires that we do good, that we walk humbly, and serve the interests of justice. God desires that we refrain from evil, but God has made us, and the whole of creation free.
It is wise to praise the creator, it is good to be thankful for existence itself, but do not look to God for favor in this world, look to your brothers and sisters, to your friends and family, seek it from the stranger, and give it in return.

Know this!

God wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth.

This is the heart of the gospel.

God, the creator of the universe, God desires the salvation of all people.

Our faith is in God, and God’s intention towards creation, that faith is the foundation of our hopes, and in those hopes we have the foundation of a loving and just society.

God will not intervene on your behalf, either to help you or to hinder you but God does hear you, God is with you.

Listen!

Jesus is not a lord.

Jesus was rich in spiritual gifts, he shared those gifts with many, with all whom he encountered, and in the sharing he only became richer in those gifts.

There was no poverty, lack or want in Jesus.

In Jesus we had a true friend.

Be mindful!

It is your task to find your way in the world, and it is a capricious place.

Find your way in it. Take the good with bad, you have no other choice.

Take the bad with good.

You may steer your own vessel, but you do not control the storm, the wind, the rain, the waves, or the current. You have little say in the choices that other people make.

Be loving, merciful, and just; strive to possess these qualities; regardless of how you fail, and know this; you will fail time and time again, but regardless of your failings God loves you, God calls on you to love what is good and to avoid what is evil.

Be kind to people and develop friendships, we cannot go through life without them.
We need each other, we are communal beings. Our relationships are what truly matter; they matter more than wealth, or power, or prestige.

The world is full of caprice, we cannot save up enough money or store enough food to survive the calamities that are to come, and the world is full of calamities. We will not survive them without our friends.

First Reading - Amos 8:4-7 ©

I Will Never Forget your Deeds, you who Trample on the Needy

Listen to this, you who trample on the needy and try to suppress the poor people of the country, you who say, ‘When will New Moon be over  so that we can sell our corn, and sabbath, so that we can market our wheat?

Then by lowering the bushel, raising the shekel, by swindling and tampering with the scales,
we can buy up the poor for money, and the needy for a pair of sandals, and get a price even for the sweepings of the wheat.’

The Lord swears it by the pride of Jacob, ‘Never will I forget a single thing you have done.’


Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 112(113):1-2, 4-8 ©

Praise the Lord, who raises the poor.

Praise, O servants of the Lord,
  praise the name of the Lord!
May the name of the Lord be blessed
  both now and for evermore!

Praise the Lord, who raises the poor.

High above all nations is the Lord,
  above the heavens his glory.
Who is like the Lord, our God,
  who has risen on high to his throne
yet stoops from the heights to look down,
  to look down upon heaven and earth?

Praise the Lord, who raises the poor.

From the dust he lifts up the lowly,
  from the dungheap he raises the poor
to set him in the company of princes,
  yes, with the princes of his people.

Praise the Lord, who raises the poor.

Alleluia!



Second Reading – 1 Timothy 2:1-8 ©

Pray for Everyone to God, Who Wants Everyone to be Saved

My advice is that, first of all, there should be prayers offered for everyone – petitions, intercessions and thanksgiving – and especially for kings and others in authority, so that we may be able to live religious and reverent lives in peace and quiet. To do this is right, and will please God our saviour: he wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth. For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and mankind, himself a man, Christ Jesus, who sacrificed himself as a ransom for them all. He is the evidence of this, sent at the appointed time, and I have been named a herald and apostle of it and – I am telling the truth and no lie – a teacher of the faith and the truth to the pagans.

In every place, then, I want the men to lift their hands up reverently in prayer, with no anger or argument.


Gospel Acclamation – Acts 16:14

Alleluia, alleluia!

Open our heart, O Lord,
to accept the words of your Son.

Alleluia!

Alternative Acclamation – 2 Corinthians 8:9

Alleluia, alleluia!

Jesus Christ was rich,
but he became poor for your sake,
to make you rich out of his poverty.

Alleluia!


The Gospel According to Luke 16:1 - 13 ©

You Cannot Be the Slave of Both God and Money

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘There was a rich man and he had a steward denounced to him for being wasteful with his property. He called for the man and said, “What is this I hear about you? Draw me up an account of your stewardship because you are not to be my steward any longer.” Then the steward said to himself, “Now that my master is taking the stewardship from me, what am I to do? Dig? I am not strong enough. Go begging? I should be too ashamed. Ah, I know what I will do to make sure that when I am dismissed from office there will be some to welcome me into their homes.”

Then he called his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, “How much do you owe my master?” “One hundred measures of oil” was the reply. The steward said, “Here, take your bond; sit down straight away and write fifty.” To another he said, “And you, sir, how much do you owe?” “One hundred measures of wheat” was the reply. The steward said, “Here, take your bond and write eighty.”

‘The master praised the dishonest steward for his astuteness. For the children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light.

‘And so I tell you this: use money, tainted as it is, to win you friends, and thus make sure that when it fails you, they will welcome you into the tents of eternity. The man who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great; the man who is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in great. If then you cannot be trusted with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches? And if you cannot be trusted with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own?

‘No servant can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.’


25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)