Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C Amos 6:1,4-7/Psalm 146:7-10/1 Timothy 6:11-16/Luke 16:19-31

Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C Amos 6:1,4-7/Psalm 146:7-10/1 Timothy 6:11-16/Luke 16:19-31

Today’s gospel contains the account of a rich man who lived a life of extreme luxury while an extremely poor man named Lazarus laid at the gate of this rich man’s house. This parable set out to teach us that wealth is a responsibility and those who engage in charity are already discharging their responsibility while those who don’t have proved irresponsible and fit for hell. While we continue to reflect on this parable we can draw many inspirations for salvation.

Firstly, we noticed that in the parable the rich man has no name and the poor man has a name called “Lazarus”. It seems that Christ is reading from the book of life where Lazarus name was written and the rich man’s name was not found. When I realized this, I immediately prayed Lord may my name be found in the book of life. For our name to be found in the book of life, it must first of all be written in the heart of men just as Lazarus wrote his name in the heart of the rich man when his dogs fed from his sores. Again, Lazarus is the Greek version of the Hebrew name אלעזר, Elʿāzār (Eleazar) meaning “God has helped” or “God supports”. Throughout his life, he has received no care or support from anyone  only God supported and cared for him. Beloved in Christ, God is our help, the psalmist of today says this better. And so if you have been helped help others. 2 Cor1: 3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, (4) who helps us in all our troubles, so that we can help those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

Secondly, we noticed that the rich man ended up in hell, in many other places in the bible the rich ended up in hell, or died a shameful death as in the case of the rich fool. Does it mean that the rich will always end up in hell? Is it that riches are evil? Or does it mean that those who are rich in this world will suffer in the life to come? But as a matter of fact not all the rich were condemned. In Luke 19:1-10 Zaccheaus the rich tax collector in spite of his riches was saved together with his family. In Matt. 27:57-60 Joseph of Arimathea was a rich man who offered his tomb for the saviour to be buried. Again, In John 19:39 Nicodemus was a rich man who brought a hundred liters of expensive aromatic oils to anoint the body of Jesus Christ. These are wealthy men who paid their due by their service to God and humanity. So God is not against riches, God wants you to have wealth; but he does not want wealth to have you. The gospel acclamation today says Jesus became poor that we may become rich.

 Therefore, the problem is not riches but the trust in riches . Mark 10:24  says how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God. Prophet Amos says in the first reading that they shall be the first of those to go into exile. It has become so difficult to teach people that life is not lived on this side of the divide and that life on earth is an airtime for eternity.

Thirdly, this parable teaches about the reality of Heaven and Hell, Christians don’t give much attentions to this topic. The question of heaven and hell remain strongly debated today. Jesus knows about our fears , so he continues to teach us about this reality. On many occasions Jesus spoke about heaven and  hell. Many of the parables set to teach us about heaven and hell. Many theologians have used many expressions in this regard.  Yet Christians behave as if they are mere fictions. Today some claim to have been to heaven and hell and they have written books such as 24hours in hell and 90 minutes in Heaven. all of these publications and revelations are nothing if we don’t believe what the bible has said already. In fact this parable further teaches that if they don’t believe the scriptures; they won’t believe even if someone should rise from the dead to preach to them.

Beloved in Christ, in your personal life – do you take the existence of hell very seriously? Do you know that you may have friends, colleagues, family members who might go to hell if they do not have a relationship with God? hell therefore is a departure from God, Matt. 25:41-42 – “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:” while Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. John 14:2 – In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. Let us begin to prepare for heaven. One of the greatest sign to know that Christians don’t prepare for heaven is the level of immorality. If you are preparing for heaven, you have no time for immorality; you have no space for greed and selfishness.  

Fourthly, the basic sin of this rich man was the sin of omission. Omission is a sin. Sin is a serious offence against God, by any thought, words, action or omission against the will of God. The rich man omitted a basic aspect of riches which is charity. He gave no help to Lazarus. In the teaching of the Church, an omission is a failure to do something one can and ought to do. If an omission happens deliberately and freely, it is considered a sin. James 4:17 defines this sin when he states, “Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, to him it is sin.” It is called the sin of omission. Failure  to do things we ought to do. When we fail to help the needy we have sinned, when we fail to pray we have sinned, (1Sam. 12:23) Samuel said God forbid that I sinned against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you. When we fail to provide for our family we have sinned and 1Tim5:8 says anyone who fails to provide for his house, has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel. When we fail to come for CMO meeting we have sinned, when we fail to attend CWO or BCC meetings we have sinned. And so if we do not repent by coming to participate in our various meetings we may end up in hell, and some of you will say you always take excuses I am not against obtain excuses but when excuse has become too much you have become a non participant because such excuses lacks authenticity and that makes us unfit disciples for discipleship is a relationship with Jesus without excuses.

Lastly, the opposite of the sin of omission is the sin of commission. This is the sin we commit by doing something we shouldn’t do. In the first reading the wealthy men continue to express their riches in luxurious and idle life at the detriment of the poor, these are men who became rich because they cheated, and yet they fail to heed the fate that will overtake them. Even the man in the gospel reading was guilty of commission, because if wearing of purple and fine linen and precious robes were not a fault the scripture would not have mentioned them. For no one seek costly garments excepts for vainglory, that he may seem more honourable than others, just as some wear to show off, or to ‘pepedem’ because they won’t be clothed with such , where he or she cannot be seen by others. How many of us wear expensive perfume to bed? Is not as if I am against good dress but there are certain things you wear that questions your practice of Christianity. And so the second reading invites us to aim at righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness and gentleness.

Fr. Dan Evbotokhai
29/9/2019

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Fr. Daniel Evbotokhai is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Auchi, Edo State, Nigeria. He was ordained October 20th, 2018. He offers his daily homilies, talks and articles that bother on, faith, theology, morals and many other burning issues in religion and politics. Fr. Daniel writes poems, inspirational quotes and clips.

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