OFFICE FOR LITURGY

of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford

Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

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 people’s lack of acceptance of the teaching of the prophets – “They have Moses and the prophets…”, but they obviously haven’t 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

First Reading: Amos 6:1.4-7
 
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 Amos’s 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.
 
Second Reading: 1 Timothy 6:11-16
 
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.”
“Dives and Lazarus” Codex Aureus Epternacensis

From the Catechism

Human solidarity
CCC 1939-1942

Solidarity among nations; love for poor
CCC 2437-2449

Hunger in world; solidarity; prayer
CCC 2831

Lazarus
CCC 633, 1021, 2463, 2831

Hell
CCC 1033-1037

1939 The principle of solidarity, also articulated in terms of "friendship" or "social charity," is a direct demand of human and Christian brotherhood. An error, "today abundantly widespread, is disregard for the law of human solidarity and charity, dictated and imposed both by our common origin and by the equality in rational nature of all men, whatever nation they belong to. This law is sealed by the sacrifice of redemption offered by Jesus Christ on the altar of the Cross to his heavenly Father, on behalf of sinful humanity."

1940 Solidarity is manifested in the first place by the distribution of goods and remuneration for work. It also presupposes the effort for a more just social order where tensions are better able to be reduced and conflicts more readily settled by negotiation.

1941 Socio-economic problems can be resolved only with the help of all the forms of solidarity: solidarity of the poor among themselves, between rich and poor, of workers among themselves, between employers and employees in a business, solidarity among nations and peoples. International solidarity is a requirement of the moral order; world peace depends in part upon this.

1942 The virtue of solidarity goes beyond material goods. In spreading the spiritual goods of the faith, the Church has promoted, and often opened new paths for, the development of temporal goods as well. And so throughout the centuries has the Lord's saying been verified: "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well". For two thousand years this sentiment has lived and endured in the soul of the Church, impelling souls then and now to the heroic charity of monastic farmers, liberators of slaves, healers of the sick, and messengers of faith, civilization, and science to all generations and all peoples for the sake of creating the social conditions capable of offering to everyone possible a life worthy of man and of a Christian.

Gospel Wordsearch

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