A HOMILY FOR THE TWENTY-SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “C” – SEPT. 25TH, 2016 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
We all get up every morning, and begin our day, and head into our daily routines, fully expecting to come back home that evening, to go to bed, and get up and do it all over again the next day. This is life. And life rolls on. Day to day. Week to week. Month to month. And year to year. And we fully expect that next day to come along. We plan for it. We schedule it. We rely on it. And yet we know, that every day, many people don’t get another morning. They get in their cars, and they don’t come home again because they get killed in car accidents. They get on an airplane that never reaches its destination. They eat that one fatal French fry that provides the final clog for the blood clot that gives them that fatal heart attack. The cancer takes its final toll on the last of their healthy cells, and their body shuts down. They walk in front of that bus, right after going to Confession, with clean underwear on, that their mom told them about when they were kids! There are no guarantees in this life! None of us are promised tomorrow. It is why we must make the best use out of today!
In a similar vein, today Jesus tells us the Parable of the Lazarus and the rich man. Every day the rich man ignores Lazarus. Now this has to be very deliberate because Lazarus is not hiding. He is in plain sight since he is lying at the door! The rich man has to step over him to get out of his house! After Lazarus dies, he is carried to the Bosom of Abraham. Now, this is a different term. The Bosom of Abraham was a term used to describe the netherworld for the just, before Christ opened the gates of Heaven. The rich man also dies, but there’s no Bosom of Abraham for him. He is condemned to eternal torment and flames. Notice that Jesus doesn’t tell us how either of them died. Maybe the rich man choked on a piece of meat. Maybe Lazarus starved to death. We don’t know. But whatever happened, from that moment, their lives in this world were over. And neither one of them was taking anything will them, from this world, to the next!
In the next world, it is the rich man who is in trouble and who is begging. He first wants Lazarus to bring him some water. When he finds out that’s not possible, apparently there this great abyss! Then he wants Lazarus to go and warn his brothers, so that they don’t end up the same way. Abraham says that if they won’t listen to Moses or the prophets, neither will they listen even if someone should come back from the dead. You see the picture here, don’t you? Jesus is coming back from the dead. Now, Jesus did come back from the dead. And lo and behold, Abraham is right, people don’t listen. We don’t care. We just keep on pretending that we’re just going to keep living forever, and that death will never catch us. But guess what? One day, someday, it will. And we will be where Lazarus and the rich man. And which place will you be?
How can we avoid the fate of this proverbial rich man? Maybe the best answer comes from our second reading today, from St. Paul’s letter to Timothy. Paul tells Timothy to lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called when you made your noble confession. We are to persevere! Paul reminds Timothy to persevere in righteousness, in devotion, in Faith, in love, in patience, and in gentleness. He tells him to keep doing this until Jesus’ return. Not to stop.
And there lies our answer: we are to persevere in our life of Faith! We are to be God’s holy people 24/7, every day. Too often, we limit ourselves. We’ll follow Jesus for an hour on Sunday. We’ll be nice to some of his people. We’ll forgive some of those who offend us. We’ll help out when it is convenient and easy, and when we can do it with our friends and people we like. We’ll give to the collection only when we have some extra money. We take care of the poor, when we’re really sure that we aren’t poor ourselves! It’s got to be more than that. The rich man ignored the opportunity to do some good, even when he was tripping on Lazarus! He thought that he had forever! He didn’t. And it got him sent to hell forever.
We do know someone that came back from the dead. And He told us to be ready, to be prepared. Are you paying attention to the opportunities around you to love and serve God? Or will you have to die, to find out?
+ May God bless us this day, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!