26th Sunday in Ordinary Time – C September 26th, 2010

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Dear Friends:

We get a quick clue to the kingdom values right at the beginning of the parable Jesus tells today. We hear of a ‘rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen’ and we are told that “at his gate lay a poor man……”

We don’t know who the rich man is but the poor man is given the dignity of a name: Lazarus. The poor man is not worth much in the eyes of the world, but he has dignity in the eyes of God. Kingdom values are different from the world’s values.  Of course the rich man is also a child of God, with inherent dignity – but that dignity doesn’t come from his wealth and possessions. Perhaps his lack of a name signifies his lack of understanding of what constitutes true value, true worth.

And perhaps his namelessness is also an invitation to us to put ourselves in his place – to supply him with our name. And then to say: What is the excess wealth that I have? What are the gifts that I am wasting? Who are the people and what are the needs that I am ignoring?

This theme is struck in the first reading. Amos warns against those who “Are at ease,” those who “feel secure”, those who “are not grieved over the ruin of others. We must recognize our connectedness to others, our responsibility,
and then determine how we can live it out.