Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C September 29, 2019

First Reading
Amos 6:1,4-7
God will judge the complacency of the people and their leaders.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 146:7-10
Happy are those who find solace in God, the help of the poor.

Second Reading
1 Timothy 6:11-16
Paul exhorts Timothy to stay faithful to God in all things.

Gospel Reading
Luke 16:19-31
Jesus tells the parable of the reversal of fortunes between the rich man and the poor man, Lazarus.

Gospel LK 16:19-31

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man’s table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
Abraham replied,
‘My child, remember that you received
what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go
from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’
He said, ‘Then I beg you, father,
send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers,
so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.’
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.’
He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'”

Background on the Gospel Reading

A major theme in the Gospel of Luke is the importance of the care of the poor in the life of discipleship. In the parable found in today’s Gospel, Jesus contrasts the life of a rich man and the poor man, Lazarus, who lives in the shadow of the rich man and his wealth. Both die. Lazarus finds himself in heaven; the rich man in the netherworld. The rich man asks for assistance from Lazarus in his torment. But Abraham reminds the rich man of the good things he had in his life and describes the current situation as a reversal of fortunes. The rich man then asks that Lazarus be sent to warn his family, but this is denied with the reminder that Moses and the prophets have warned of judgment for those who neglect the care of the poor.

In the context of Luke’s Gospel, this parable, delivered in the presence of a crowd of listeners, is part of Jesus’ response to some Pharisees. These Pharisees are described in Luke’s Gospel as “loving money.” (Note: The Pharisees were followers of a sect of Judaism active before, during, and after Jesus’ lifetime. They taught an oral interpretation of the Law of Moses as the basis for popular Jewish piety. They put less emphasis on Temple worship and more on applying the law to everyday life. Though they are often portrayed negatively in the Gospels, they shared many of Jesus’ and the early Church’s concerns about the law.) Jesus observed that the actions of some Pharisees betrayed misplaced priorities: they spoke one way, but acted in another. The story of the rich man and Lazarus demonstrates the importance of the care of the poor and is a reminder to those who would follow Jesus of the unimportance of wealth in the eyes of God.

Family Connection

Talk with your children about some of the things that they have that can be shared with others. Ask your children to describe a time when they had to share something that they had. Ask if this was easy or difficult and why. Talk about some of ways in which your family shares your possessions. Read together today’s Gospel, Luke 16:19-31. Consider together some reasons why the rich man may not have shared his riches with the poor man, Lazarus. Identify some reasons why we might share our possessions with others. Make a commitment as a family to do something this week in which you will choose to share your possessions with someone in need.

Sources: Loyola Press; Sunday Readings

Bible Catechism – Lesson 8

Lesson 8:
The Languages Of The Bible

1. Were all the books of the Bible originally written in one language?

No, besides Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic were used.

2. What books were written in Hebrew?

Almost all the books of the Old Testament.

3. What books were written in Greek?

In the Old Testament, the Second Book of Machabees and the Book of Wisdom; in the New Testament, all books except the Gospel of St. Matthew.

4. What books were written in Aramaic?

The Gospel of St. Matthew.

5. When were the books of the Old Testament, that were originally written in Hebrew, translated into Greek?

About 220 years before Christ.

6. Why was the translation from Hebrew into Greek made?

Because the Jewish people was dispersed into countries where the Greek tongue predominated, and so it gradually forgot the mother tongue, speaking only Greek. Hence the wish to have the Bible in the Greek tongue. 

Bible Catechism – Lesson 7

Lesson 7:
The Bible And Tradition

1. Do we not have in the Bible books written by authors, other than the Apostles?

We have, but these authors lived in apostolic times and merely recorded the words and deeds of the Apostles themselves.

2. Why does the Church not admit any books except those of Apostolic origin?

The Church does not accept any book not of Apostolic origin because the Deposit of Faith was completed with the death of the last Apostle (St. John).

3. Why does the Church require that a book should be in harmony with Tradition?

She requires that a book be in harmony with Tradition because the Gospel had already been preached before a word of the New Testament was ever written.

4. Are there in the Bible any books whose inspiration was doubted by some for a time?

Yes, the Second Epistle of St Peter, the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the Apocalypse.

5. Are there any books not found in the Bible today which for a time were thought by some to be inspired?

Yes, namely the “Gospel of St. James,” the “Gospel of St. Thomas,” the “Acts of St. Paul,” amongst many others.

6. What happened to these books once thought to be inspired?

They were rejected as spurious. It does not mean necessarily that these books are bad; it simply means that they are not part of the Bible because they were not inspired by the Holy Ghost; they are what we Catholics call “Apocrypha” or “Apocryphal books.” The Protestants erroneously give the name “Apocrypha” to the Deutero-Canonical books.

7. What does this attitude of the Church prove?

This attitude proves, amongst other things, that the Church sifts everything carefully before approving or rejecting.

8. What do we mean by Tradition?

By Tradition we mean that body of doctrine which has been handed down to us, alongside the doctrine clearly taught in the Bible.

9. Who has handed down Tradition?

The Church, through her teaching office (Also called “Magisterium”), has handed down Tradition.

10. What guarantee have we that Tradition is not false?

We have the guarantee of Christ in His statement that the Church would not err in teaching.

11. Does the Bible then, not contain all Christian revelation?

No, and it was never intended that it should.

12. What proof do we have that the Bible does not contain the complete Deposit of Faith?

There is the fact that Christ commissioned His Apostles to “Preach and teach” (Mt. 28, 19), whereas no mention of “Writing” is found; furthermore, the Gospel was widely spread before a single word of the New Testament was ever written.

13. What further Scriptural proof have we that the Bible does not contain the complete Deposit of Faith?

The words of St. John that conclude his Gospel, “But there are also many other things which Jesus did; which if they were written every one, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written” (Jn. 21, 25).

14. What view do Protestants hold about the Deposit of Faith?

Protestants hold that all things necessary for salvation are found in the Bible. To quote Luther: “The Bible and the Bible only.”

15. Do Protestants ignore Tradition?

Totally, and in this they are illogical, for it is by Tradition that we know what the Bible contains.

16. What is the Catholic view of the Bible and Tradition?

That, while the Bible is the chief source, it is neither the only nor the original source of our knowledge of Revelation.

17. To what may we compare the relation between the Bible and Tradition?

We may compare it to a professor’s textbooks and his lectures; as a professor’s lectures in the classroom, and his textbooks clarify each other, so does the Bible clarify Tradition and is clarified by it in turn.

18. Has Tradition aided the Bible in other ways?

Yes, it has preserved the Bible and has helped the Church to sift the true from the false, and has kept us from false interpretation. 

 

Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C September 22, 2019

First Reading
Amos 8:4-7
Unfair business practices and injustice to the poor will be judged by God.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 113: 1-2,4-6,7-8
Praise be to God, who raises up the poor.

Second Reading
1 Timothy 2:1-8
Paul tells Timothy that prayer for those in authority is pleasing to God because God wills the salvation of all.

Gospel Reading
Luke 16:1-13 (shorter form, Luke 16:10-13)
Jesus tells a parable about a dishonest steward who is commended for his prudence; one cannot serve both God and money.

Jesus said to his disciples:

“The person who is trustworthy in very small matters
is also trustworthy in great ones;
and the person who is dishonest in very small matters
is also dishonest in great ones.
If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth,
who will trust you with true wealth?
If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another,
who will give you what is yours?
No servant can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve both God and mammon.”

Background on the Gospel Reading

Today’s Gospel sounds puzzling to contemporary readers, but it can be made less so by considering the economic system which stands behind the parable. A steward is dismissed because he is squandering his master’s property. He is called dishonest because he is not serving the interests of the rich man, his employer. In response the steward, in an attempt to ensure favor for himself among the rich man’s debtors, brokers repayment of the rich man’s loans by foregoing the interest and fees that had been levied to line the steward’s pockets. It is this action, in which the steward puts aside his greed and takes the longer perspective in order to enhance his security, which is commended by the rich man.

The passage concludes with three morals for the listeners. The first exhorts the listener to be prudent about the use of wealth. Like the steward in the parable, those who would follow Jesus must put transitory affairs in proper perspective. Christians should handle the affairs of temporal life with an eye toward eternal life.

The second concerns trustworthiness. Those who can be trusted in small things can also be trusted in great things. If Christians handle money and other passing things responsibly, then they can also be trusted with the affairs of the Kingdom of God.

Finally, Jesus tells his listeners that no one can serve two masters simultaneously. God must be put ahead of money.

Family Connection

Talk with your children about some things that they have done to show that they can be trusted. Talk a bit about what it means to be responsible. Responsibility often means that we put aside something of passing value for something of greater value.

Read together the short form of today’s Gospel, Luke 16:10-13. Talk about the importance of responsible use of money and our material possessions. As a family, commit to one action that you will take this week to show that your family serves God and not money.

Sources: Loyola Press; Sunday Readings
PRAYER WARRIORS OF THE HOLY SOULS (PWHS)