Be Just And Work For Eternal Life!
Readings: (1st: Am 6, 1. 4-7; Ps: 145, 6-10; 2nd: ITim 6, 11-16; Gos: Lk 6, 11-16)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
On this twenty sixth Sunday of ordinary time, the church calls us to be just and work for eternal life. Hence, she encourages us to be dedicated and active in the “good fight of faith until the appearing of the Lord.”
All the readings of this Sunday are continuations of the readings of last Sunday. They center on the day of God’s judgement. Most importantly, they point to the final end of the unjust, and the triumph and comfort of the poor and just.
In the first reading, the prophet Amos continues his treaty against the rich and influential of the society who oppress the weak and the poor. He pronounces God’s judgment on those who derive their joy and comfort from the miseries of the poor and the weak. This comfort will soon disappear as snow disappears. In order words, their time would soon be up. Their evil would be finally revealed and exposed because, “tempus omnia revelat (time reveals all things). This would be the triumph and comfort of the poor.
Today’s gospel is unique in the sense that it touches a very important aspect of our Christian life, believe and theology. That is, eschatology, the theology of the end of time or of the last days. First it concerns the three very important last things: death, judgment, and reward -heaven or hell (Heb 9, 27). Second, it concerns and reassures us of the comfort of those who mourn now on earth as Christ promised: “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted (Matt 5, 4).
A very important lesson from today’s gospel could therefore be captured in this popular saying: “Make hay while the sun shines.” In order words, we must pay heed to the instructions of the good news of salvation while there is still ample opportunity for us to do so. Excessive comfort, and display of affluence here on earth which does not impart positively on the life of others especially the poor, will not profit us much at the end of time. They will not guarantee our ticket into the “bosom of Abraham.”
Therefore, we need to pay attention to the word of God we hear every day. It calls us to use our earthly possession to help the poor and weak. The true and wise disciple of Christ is the one who understands this Latin adage: “cotidiana vilescunt” (everyday, things lose their appeal or value). This is hundred percent true and sure. Things retain their value only by serving and helping the society from which they were derived.
So, being mindful of the fact that this world shall pass away helps us a lot to prepare for the Eternal Kingdom. Only those who are focused and not distracted by the excessive comfort of this world will easily notice and attend to the Christ in the “Lazarus” around them.
Finally, through the second reading of this Sunday, Paul advices us: “As a man dedicated to God…Fight a good fight of faith to win for your selves the eternal life to which you are being called…” This call to eternal life is for all. However, only those who work for it with faith, patience, love, gentility, reverence for God and for others will get there. Only those who show mercy to the poor, the weak, and the just would be accepted into the bosom of Abraham. That is, the Eternal Kingdom, where “better things can be hoped for.”
Peace be with you all!