· Amos continues inviting us to live in justice and compassion towards our brothers and sisters less fortunate.
· We will listen to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. This parable like the words of Amos invite us to take seriously the matter of justice in our relationships.
· The author of the letter to Timothy tells him how to behave as a follower of Jesus
Ø Amos is a very interesting prophet, very close to the simple persons whom the Lord chooses to give them a mission of salvation among his or her brothers and sisters.
Ø Amos, himself tells us that he is a farmer, a simple man, who has never wished to be a prophet, but the Lord God called him to prophesize.
Ø He had been born in the Southern Kingdom, "Judah," but the Lord God had sent him to exercise his ministry in the Northern Kingdom "Israel".
Ø He lives and prophesizes in a time of great economic and political prosperity in the Northern Kingdom, a time of great wealth but also a time of great injustices.
Ø A time in which on some way the nation is more vulnerable, in spite of its wealth and power, because when there are internal injustices the nations are more vulnerable to the external attacks.
FIRS READING Amos 6:1a. 4-7
ü This reading is taken from the "woes' section" called also "lamentations" in chapter 5 and 6.
ü The reading gives us the third woe.
ü If we did not know that we are reading something related to many centuries ago, we would think that the prophet is speaking of our own time and society.
ü Amos tells the powerful, the rich men that they live in the opulence and that they are not sensitive to the suffering of those who lack almost everything.
ü He gives a very vivid description: they participate in banquets, they sing, they dance... in a word they do nothing useful.
ü They take advantage of those who lack almost everything, and they, the rich, take from them the little they have, or they do not give to them their salary.
ü The consequences of this empty and selfish life will be great. When the Assyrians come they will be the first to be deported. This was the policy of the Assyrians, to take the powerful from their own nation, so that they could not organize a revolt. But they were leaving the poor of the land to care for it.
ü It is not difficult to see something similar in our society today. In a time of economic recession we continue to be invited to spend the little we have in futile things for the profit of the business owners. We are offered continually "sales" or "two for the price of one," or they make us believe that "we can buy without paying now and without interest..."
ü In a word they play with our ill inclination to possess without effort, to spent money without thinking....
ü But I do not think that we have to look only to the world of opulence, of the businesses etc... the readings invites all of us to look at our own life and see if there is something in it similar to what the prophets describes.
ü The great sin of all those Amos is describing in his oracle, and also of the rich man of the parable of Luke is the "indifference" in front of the suffering and the need of others.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM . Ps 146 7,8-9,9-10 PRAISE THE LORD MY SOUL
Blessed is he who keeps faith forever
secures justice for the oppressed
gives food to the hungry
the Lord sets captives free.
The Lord gives sight to the blind
The Lord raises up those who are bowed down
The Lord loves the just
The Lord protects strangers.
The fatherless and the widow he sustains
but the way of the wicked he thwarts
The Lord shall reign forever
your God, O Zion, through all generations.
§ The psalms repeats what Amos has said, God will not forget the wrong we do to others.
§ The psalm says it by means of song, poetry, but it is the same message, it is a call to justice and compassion = to suffer with...
GOSPEL Lk 16: 19-31
Before we begin to analyze this parable, let us look at what comes before it in chapter 16 of the Gospel of Luke.
The reason to do so is because the Gospels have an inner order through which the author wants to help us to understand the message.
Chapter 16 of Luke begins with the parable of the "dishonest steward" then comes the words addressed to the Pharisees, who loved money and power.
In a word we may say that this is a chapter on the need to use money justly.
Let us see now the parable
§ It is a story we know very well, the story of two human beings
§ One is rich but does not have a name, his life is empty and Luke says that not giving him a name.
§ The other man has a name in spite of being a "nobody" for the rich man who does not even see him. He only realizes that Lazarus exists when he needs him, when he wants to use him for his convenience.
§ This man is called Lazarus = Eliezer which means "God helps", what a beautiful name the name of this beggar, and certainly God helps.
§ The sin of the rich man is not that he abuses the poor man or takes advantage of him, not even a sin of "social injustice", but a sin of "indifference" He does not see the poor man, he does not feel his needs, he is totally indifferent.
§ The human beings do not help the poor man full of sores, but the dogs, those dogs who are as homeless as he is, take care of his wounds.
§ These two men die like everybody does. None of us takes anything when we die: neither the riches, nor the sores... nothing. At this time we are all equals, simple human beings poor and naked before our Creator and Father.
§ The fate these two men changes immediately: the rich man is buried, why do they tell us something which is so normal to be buried? because he is buried in the abyss of the dead, he is forgotten forever, nobody remembers him.
§ the poor man is taken to the bosom of Abraham, which is the image of peace and consolation reserved for those who die in the Lord, who will enjoy happiness for all eternity.
§ The reaction of the rich man, as Luke describes it, is very interesting. On one side he is as selfish as always "tell Lazarus to come to alleviate my suffering..." on the other side he is able to act moved by love for his brothers.
§ The words of Abraham make us think "between you and us there is a great chasm that nobody can cross."
§ Maybe this is the best description of what happens between selfishness and unconditional love.
§ This parable does not need more explanation, let us enter into our heart and let us see in it how much of the rich man we have and how much of the poor. From there let us make our own reflection.
SECOND READING 1 Tm 6:11-16
v The author of the letter continues to tell Timothy how to behave as a man of God called to the pastoral ministry.
v He invites Timothy to live according to the commandments and to exhort him to do it he reminds him that Jesus gave witness in front of Pilate.
v We know that because of this witnessing, he died, but his death was redeeming us.
v It is an invitation to Timothy to live a good life.
v Until Christ the Lord of Lords comes again.
v His is the honor and glory.
v This is an invitation also for us, the XXI century followers of Jesus
v We are called to be witnesses with our life. We are called to testify the truth of God and of our own truth.
v What is that truth? That God is Father and thus we are all brothers and sisters. This is the truth that leads us to justice.
God our Lord was pleased in this occasion to make me taste the summit of affliction. I thought very seldom of the promises the Lord had made to me and, if I remember them sometimes it was for a great torments because at once my old anguishes assaulted me – that all that my confessor told me to be the spirit of God was perhaps the evil spirit to get me out of the convent and then, to leave me unable to become a religious. This was for me the cruelest torture because I cannot explain the love I have always had for the religious life. And the devil all the more reinforced these fears in me seeing that the confessors and the good bishop Claret, who assured me of the work, did not dare to define the case. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 100.
The Word of God brought all things out of nothingness. The divine Word of Jesus Christ restored all things. Christ told his Apostles, "Go out into the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.'' St. Paul told his disciple Timothy, "Preach the Word." Society is perishing for no other reason than that it has withdrawn from the Church's Word, which is the Word of life and the Word of God. Societies have become weak and are starving because they have ceased to receive the daily bread of God's Word. Every plan of salvation will be sterile unless there is a return to the fullness of the great, catholic Word. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters. Autobiography 450.
CLARET, Antonio María Claret, Autobiography.
JENSEN, Joseph, Ethical Dimensions of the Prophets.
PAGOLA, José A. Following in the Footsteps of Jesus. Meditations on the Gospels for Year C.
PARIS, María Antonia, Autobiography
RAVASI, Gianfranco, Según las Escrituras, Año C.
SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso, Comentario a La Biblia de nuestro Pueblo.
The Catholic Study Bible, Second Edition. New American Bible.