Word for the Weekend - September 26

Bas-relief of the story of the rich man and Lazarus: Abbaye St. Pierre de Moissac (Two dogs lick Lazarus' wounds; the rich man dines to the right. On the left sits Abraham with Lazarus in his bosom. Click for larger version.)

Detail from bas-relief above
Looking ahead to the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, we're faced with very strong scripture texts that stand as judgment on our lives and our lifestyles. You'll find the hard sayings of this Sunday's readings here along with commentary on them. Escorting children to Mass this weekend? Check here for hints on helping children prepare to the the Word of the Lord.

The first lesson, from the prophet Amos, gets right to the point: "Woe to you who are complacent, stretched out comfortably on your sofas, eating well, listening to music, having a few drinks and dousing yourself in expensive perfumes, lotions and after-shave! Your good times are about to end and after that..."

The gospel, from Luke, is the familiar and riveting story of the rich man and the beggar, Lazarus, who begged for scraps from the man's table. If that's not enough to stir your memory of this tale then either you're not familiar with the gospels or your in denial! What becomes of Lazarus and the rich man in eternity is enough to make most of us squirm in discomfort.

The second lesson is another passage from Paul's first letter to Timothy. The tone is more positive here, as Paul instructs Timothy to "compete well for the faith, to keep the Lord's word without stain or reproach, to lay hold of the life to which we have been called." Strong language here but more challenging than judgmental.

There's really no wriggling out of the bare truth of these scriptures. Follow the links, read the texts and be prepared to hear them at the Lord's table where we, sinners, are fed the richest banquet possible.

Click on the illustrations above for a larger versions. Notice the condition of Lazarus' skin... Who do you suppose is the figure hovering over him? Lazarus is almost directly beneath the rich man's table: how close are the poor to our tables?

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  1. sores on Lazarus' skin...

    above him, is it the angel who brought him to Abraham when he died?

    I am thinking about your question of how close are the poor to our tables...
    I think very close- but also far away-
    for me, the poor AND the rich are far away because of my fear and distrust of everyone- well, not everyone- but most people.

    Just today I was in a place where there were a lot of different people- I looked around at each person and paused for a moment at each- then I looked at everyone as a whole-
    then I prayed-
    my prayer was something like this:
    God, you know how I feel (anger, fear, distrust...)
    please God, watch over each and every one of these people- I know that they are from you, of you- even if they don't know that, or if they don't know you-
    please keep them safe...

  2. Lazarus is the patron saint of lepers so the sores are leprosy.

    Not sure about the hovering one but the presence of wings and a halo could mean an angel ferrying him to heaven.

    How close are the poor to our tables. I guess the honest answer for those who are materially poor is far away. But the spiritually poor - I try to listen is all I can say !! i find that many people are hardened in their opinions these days.


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