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September 25, 2022: Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Constructed within Sacred Sensitivity”

Amos 6: 1-7/Psalm 146/1 Timothy 6: 17-19/Luke 16: 19-31

Bishop Ariel P. Santos

The gospel gives an important lesson that we should pay attention to. The parable was directed to the Pharisees who were lovers of money. The gospel last week and this week is all about stewardship of what God has entrusted to us. There is a reason why God blesses us – to be a blessing! The Pharisees were listening to Jesus but was scoffing at Him. The Pharisees believed that if one is in good health and have money, one is obedient to God. If one is sickly and poor, he is cursed because he was not as holy as the Pharisee and had sinned. There is some truth to this, but not all the time. Jesus was sinless and yet became the victim of an unimaginable persecution. Job was a blameless man but he went through tests and trials that were not pleasant.

In John 9, Jesus saw a blind man from birth and the disciples, with the same thinking like the Pharisees, judged the man to be a sinner. They asked Jesus, “Who sinned the man or his parents?” Jesus corrected their thinking and introduced the heart of God and said that it doesn’t matter who sinned. The situation was to demonstrate the works of God. Our calling is not to judge a person of his situation but to correct the problem so that we can help and give glory to God for the situation.

Jesus tells of a very indulgent, luxurious, and excessive living of a rich man who had a constant reminder in the life of Lazarus that he sees everyday. The rich man had heard of many teachings of helping the poor, but he keeps ignoring the reminder in front of him. It is not wrong to be wealthy, but it’s wrong to be wealthy and to neglect the needy. God blesses us with what we need and always more so that we can use the surplus to help others. It is seed for sowing and bread for eating.

God wants us to be wealthy, but as He said in Amos 6, “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion, enjoy luxurious living but don’t care for those who are in need.” Proverbs 3:27 says, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in your power to do it.” In the Parable of the Sheep and the Goat, the sin that was condemned was the sin of omission. It was neglecting the call to feed the poor, to clothe the naked, and to give drink to the thirsty. In our Confession, we ask God to forgive us for the things that we have done and the things that we have left undone.

Blessings can become a bane if they are not shared for we are blessed to be a blessing. We are not to be oblivious to those who are needy. Sin is turning towards self. It is all about “me” not realizing that many have more needs that we can think of us having one. If we ignore this need, we might end up in a place that is not good like the rich man. As we refuse and delay acting on what we know is right, we increase our capability to not act on it.

In 1 Timothy 6:17, St. Paul told Timothy to tell the rich people, “Don’t fix your hope on the uncertainty of riches but on God who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” We enjoy by sharing and also by partaking of our blessings. There is more than enough to go around.

The rich man told Abraham, “Can you send Lazarus to my brothers to warn them about not doing what I did? Abraham said, “They have Moses and the prophets.” Moses and the prophets mean God’s instructions and directions. Sometimes, God already speaks to us, but what we want is the spectacular – a good preacher and a good teaching. God speaks to us in a still small voice many times and speaks to us often. The problem is not a lack of unavailability of teaching, revelation, or direction, but it is the ears to hear and the hearts to obey.

The Eucharist is a feast that is overflowing with the Word and heavenly bread. Let us not ignore it just like how the rich man ignored Lazarus in the front gate. St. John said that the anointing that we receive from God abides in us and we have no need for anyone to teach us; but as God’s anointing teaches us, then in all things, we abide in Him. In other translations, it says, “Live deeply in what you already know.” There is no need for more wisdom, more money before we do the work of God.

The Syrophoenician woman asked for a crumb which was enough for her. The centurion told Jesus, “I am not Jew, but just one word from You, and my servant will be healed.” Moses told the Israelites, “The teaching of God is not far from you. It is as near as your mouth and as your heart that you may observe the commandment of the Lord.” The problem comes when we don’t incline our ears. There is no shortage of God’s Word. In the Old Testament, God spoke many times and in many ways through His prophets and His people.

Run with the little that we know. May we be faithful in the small things that we presently have. When we are, God will then give us bigger things. If we seek His kingdom, He will add after. Act right here, right now!

We pray in our Corporate Petition, “Grant unto us our allotted inheritance and the grace to build upon it facilities in which your people, being restored in Your image, ever growing in love for You, might become a habitation of Your presence and ministers of Your life.” Even before this facility is completed, we already have the ability to be ministers of His love. Of course, we want to finish this building; but it doesn’t mean though that before it happens, we don’ have the ability. We already know what to do and we should already do it.

Study shows that the more money people have, the less they give to Church and charity. The love of money is the root of evil. Let us not wait. Ecclesiastes says, “He who watches the wind will not sow; and he who looks at the cloud will not reap.” In another translation, “If you wait for the perfect condition, you will never get anything done.” Another translation says, “If you wait for the wind and the weather to be just right, you will never plant anything and you will never harvest anything.”

This is a warning. We need not have a person be resurrected to tell us what to do. We have Moses and the prophets and more. How do we fully enjoy the wealth that God has blessed us with? It is through sharing. Sharing means we partake and others as well. True wealth is the ability to share it, not just the ability to amass it. We will not go about it. If anything, we will end up with more so that we have a bigger ability to help more.

Proverbs 30:8-9 says, “Don’t make me either poor or rich, but give me only the bread I need each day; if you don’t, I might have too much. Then I might say I don’t know you. I might say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I might become poor and steal. Then I would bring shame to the name of my God.” We are blessed! We are not poor! It is just a matter of perspective and many times, our perspective is wrong.

We have a lot more conveniences today than the generation before us. Generations before us did not have indoor plumbing; we do have water in our homes. Fast food then was luxury; now it is all over the place and every one can afford it. See how blessed we are!

Statistics shows that 7% of the world population finished High School. Twelve percent of the world’s population have a computer. Three percent in the world have an internet connection. One-fourth of the whole world do not have electricity. Thirteen percent are hungry and malnourished. 71% of the world population struggle to live on P100 pesos a day. Hunger, not heart diseases, not Covid or any other disease, is the number one cause of death. It is said that $60 Billion a year will end global poverty. My point is that we are more blessed than many other people. There are many others who have a greater need than we do. Maybe, this should change the way we pray for – to open our eyes to see God and to see how blessed we are because of Him. Because we are blessed, realized that we need to bless others. If we have food in our refrigerator, clothes in our closet, slept in a bed last night, if we have a roof over our head, we are richer than 75% of people in the world. We are not poor! Our nation may be called a third-world country, but most of us are richer than this percentage.

The statistics will get better because the kingdom of God has come and the kingdom of God with its kindness will continue to grow and to make things better. Kindness, compassion and charity will grow. As it is now: we are blessed to be blessing! What we need to do is not to ask for more but to look for more Lazaruses around us. Bless, lather, rinse and repeat. This is eternal life indeed and the way it is in the kingdom of our God.


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