Studies and Meditations on this Sundays Scripture Readings: September 29, 2013


#1

*But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.’" *

To help us prepare for this coming Sunday, here are the readings, studies and reflections for this coming Sunday’s Scripture readings. This Sunday is the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Here are the Scripture readings from the U.S. Catholic bishops website.

My own weekly study on the Sunday Readings can be found here at my website.

Here are three short audio reflections on the readings by Sister Ann Shields, Dr. Scott Hahn, and Fr. Robert Barron.

Scripture scholar Fr. Francis Martin’s video meditations on the Sunday Scripture readings can be found here.

Further study resources for the Readings: St. Charles Borromeo Bible Study can be found here, Catholic Matters can be found here, the Catena Aurea (“Golden Chain”) of St. Thomas Aquinas can be found here, and the Haydock Commentary can be found here.

Please consider supporting those who provide these free resources.

Discussion, questions and charitable comments are always welcome. Have a blessed week!


#2

It is nice to have others to reflect for us. But sometimes we need to do our own homework and to allow the word speaks to our lives.

To me Lk 16:29-31 is a reaffirmation, a reminder rather, that I should make the best use of my earthly life as an investment for the afterlife. That is the only chance that I have and once I am called to the Lord, I cannot do anything anymore and will be completely under His mercy hoping that I had done enough while alive to merit his mercy and forgiveness to be with Him forever in heaven.


#3

Right you are! I present the above (and following) reflections, not as an end all/be all or a substitute individual reflection, but merely as a basis and a springboard for personal and group study.Especially helpful to many is the background information on the readings, since it is an aid to understanding the literal meaning and original context of the passage and helps prevents individuals from flying off into fanciful or irrelevant interpretations of the passage that the original writers never intended (and, worse, making these personal interpretations THE definitive meaning of the passage.)

To me Lk 16:29-31 is a reaffirmation, a reminder rather, that I should make the best use of my earthly life as an investment for the afterlife. That is the only chance that I have and once I am called to the Lord, I cannot do anything anymore and will be completely under His mercy hoping that I had done enough while alive to merit his mercy and forgiveness to be with Him forever in heaven.

I think this is a good insight. :slight_smile: There are a ton of other topics that can be gleaned from this passage and discussed as well, including:

• In the First Reading from the prophet Amos, the persons addressed seem to have many luxuries and are living a life of indolence. Why does the Lord find fault with this? What similarities are there between them and the Rich Man in todays Gospel?
• In the Second Reading, list the things that St. Paul advises that Timothy should make his priorities? How many of these are your priorities? How do they relate to the Gospel Reaading?
• In the Gospel Reading, how do the lives of the rich man and Lazarus compare on earth (verses 19-21)? After death (verses 22-24)? List the examples of their reversal of fortunes.
• What determines who enters heaven and who does not (see Matthew 25:31-46; Romans 2:6-11)? Why does this poor man qualify while the rich man is kept out (Hint: it isn’t merely by virtue of his being poor)?
• On a scale of 1 (the Rich Man and his brothers) to 10 (Lazarus), where do you stand? Why there?
• What does this passage teach about the afterlife? What should we do with our lives here on earth?
• What does this story teach you about comfort? Suffering? Why is it so difficult for people to be convinced of God’s ways? How is verse 31 prophetic (see John 11:38-53)?
• Since lacking in knowledge is not the problem of the Rich Man’s brothers, what is? How do you see that tendency in yourself?


#4

**From the Navarre Bible Commentary

First Reading - From: Amos 6:1a; 4-7

A life of luxury gives a false sense of security
-----------------------------------------------------------------**
Thus says the Lord the God of hosts:
[1] “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion!

[4] Woe to those who lie upon beds of ivory,
and stretch themselves upon their couches,
and eat lams from the flock,
and calves from the midst of the stall;
[5] who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp,
and like David invent for themselves instruments of music;
[6] who drink wine in bowls,
and anoint themselves with the finest oils,
but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!
[7] Therefore they shall now be the first of those to go into exile,
and the revelry of those who stretch themselves shall pass away.”
*


Commentary: *

6:1-7. The third “woe” (v. 1; cf. 5:7, 18) marks the start of the last section of this part of the book. Two distinct fragments can be detected in this passage, but they both attack pleasure-seeking and pride. The first (vv. 1-7) reproaches those who live thoughtlessly (vv. 4-6), be they in Samaria or in Zion (v. 1), putting their trust in the ruling classes of “the first of the nations”, that is, the Northern kingdom, Samaria. In describing the country in that way, Amos is being sarcastic. But there is no sarcasm about his threat that those who “anoint themselves with the finest oils” (v. 6) “will be the first of those who go into exile” (v. 7). The main charge laid against them is that of living a life of luxury, heedless of the misfortunes of others, of “the ruin of Joseph (v. 6). Concern for others is always a religious duty: “Coming down to practical and particularly urgent consequences, this council [Vatican II] lays stress on reverence for man; everyone must consider his every neighbour without exception as another self, taking into account first of all his life and the means necessary to living it with dignity. …] In our times a special obligation binds us to make ourselves the neighbour of every person without exception and to actively help him when he comes across our path, whether he be an old person abandoned by all, a foreign labourer unjustly looked down upon, a refugee, a child born of an unlawful union and wrongly suffering for a sin he did not commit, or a hungry person who disturbs our conscience by recalling the voice of the Lord, ‘As long as you did it for one of these the least of my brethren, you did it for me’ (Mt 35:40)” (Gadium et spes, 27).


Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States. We encourage readers to purchase
The Navarre Bible for personal study. See Scepter Publishers for details.


#5

**From the Navarre Bible Commentary

Second Reading - From: 1 Timothy 6:11-16

An Appeal to Defend the Faith
-----------------------------**
[11] But as for you, man of God, shun all this; aim at righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. [12] Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. [13] In the presence of God who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus who in his testimony, before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, [14] I charge you to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; [15] and this will be made manifest at the proper time by the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, [16] who alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.


Commentary:

11-16. The letter’s final piece of advice is given with special solemnity. There are two reasons for constancy in the fight (v. 12): the call to eternal life, and fidelity to the confession of faith made at Baptism. The second obligation, to keep what is commanded (v. 14), is urged with an appeal to the presence of two witnesses–God the Father, and Jesus Christ (v. 13), who firmly proclaimed his kingship to Pontius Pilate.

There is a very close connection between perseverance and the eternal sovereignty of God (v. 16): “The eternity of God”, St Bernard teaches, “is the source of perseverance …]. Who hopes and perseveres in love but he who imitates the eternity of his charity? Truly, perseverance reflects eternity in some way; only to perseverance is eternity granted or, to put it better, only perseverance obtains eternity for man” (“Book of Consideration”, 5, 14).

  1. “Man of God”: this expression was used in the Old Testament of men who performed some special God-given mission–for example, Moses (Deut 33:1; Ps 40:1), Samuel (1 Sam 9:6-7); Elijah and Elisha(1 Kings 17:18; 2 Kings 4:7, 27, 42). In the Pastoral Epistles (cf. also 2 Tim 3:17) it is applied to Timothy insofar as ordination has conferred on him a ministry in the Church. Through ordination "the priest is basically a consecrated man, a “man of God” (1 Tim 6:11) …]. The ministerial priesthood in the people of God is something more than a holy public office exercised on behalf of the community: it is primarily a configuration, a sacramental and mysterious transformation of the person of the man-priest into the person of Christ himself, the only mediator (cf. 1 Tim 2:5) " (A. del Portillo, “On Priesthood”, pp. 44-45).

“Fight the good fight”: St Paul often uses military comparisons to describe the Christian life (cf., e.g., 2 Cor 10:3-6; Eph 6:10-17; Col 1:29; 2 Tim 2:3; 4:7), and they have found their way into the ascetical tradition of the Church (cf. note on 1 Tim 1:17-19). Here and in 2 Timothy he is referring more to keeping the truth unsullied, and to preaching: the “good fight of the faith” is of great importance to everyone.

Concluded below…


#6

“Confession in the presence of many witnesses”: in addition to the day of his consecration (cf. 1 Tim 4:14), Timothy would have often had occasion to make public confession of his faith. However, this phrase is couched in such formal terms that it seems to refer rather to the profession of faith which has been made at Baptism ever since the early years of the Church (cf. Acts 2:38-41).

13-14. “Keep the commandments”: the Greek may be referring to one specific commandment (as the RSV reflects); but it can also mean law as a whole and, more likely, the truths of Revelation, that is, the deposit of the faith professed at Baptism.

St Paul very formally calls in, as witnesses to this instruction, God the Father and Christ Jesus, “who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession”. Jesus’ “testimony” includes his entire passion and the declaration he made to the Roman procurator about messianic kingship and his true identity (cf. Jn 18:36-37).

“Until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ”: when referring to the second coming of Christ the New Testament often uses the term “parousia” (cf. 1 Cor 15:23; 2 Pet 3:4) or “revealing” (cf., e.g., 1 Cor 1:7); the Pastoral Epistles prefer “appearing”, epiphany, manifestation (cf. 2 Tim 4:1, 8; Tit 2:13), which better reflect the coming of Christ in glory as Savior (cf. 2 Tim 1:10). There is, of course , a wonderful continuity between the redemptive work of Christ, the action of the Church in conserving Revelation and passing it on, and the final coming of Christ at the end of time.

15-16. This doxology or hymn of praise, one of the richest and most beautiful in the New Testament, may have been taken from the Church’s liturgy (which may also be the case with the other hymns in this letter: cf. 1:17 and 3:15 -16). It was possibly a reply to pagan hymns honoring rulers and emperors as gods. However, it is more likely that this particular hymn was inspired by the Old Testament, which speaks of God in similar language. Whatever its origin, the important thing about the hymn is that it expresses faith in God who merits all praise.

At a time known only to him (cf. Mt 24:36), God the Father will bring about the glorious manifestation of Jesus Christ. The text refers to four attributes which show the power and sublimity of God: he is the “only Sovereign”, from whom all lawful rulers on earth receive their authority (cf. Jn 19:11). He is the “King of kings and Lord of lords” (literally, “the King of those who reign and the Lord of those who wield lordship”); this is not, then, a merely honorific title: he does actually exercise sovereignty over those who claim to possess it (cf. Rev 17:14; 19:16). He is “immortal”, for immortality is proper to God, who is Life (cf. Jn 1:4); angels and souls are immortal only by virtue of the nature given them by God. Finally, he is “light” and brightness: these are attributed to God (cf. Ps 104:2) to show his sublimity: God transcends all created things and cannot be fully comprehended by man. St Thomas explains that an object can be invisible on two counts either because it lacks brightness, as occurs with things which are dark and opaque, or because it is too bright, as occurs in the case of the sun, which is so br ight that the human eye cannot look at it; God is so far beyond the capacity of the human mind that man cannot entirely take him in even though what we can learn about him by the right use of reason and through revelation is true and accurate (cf. “Commentary on 1 Tim, ad loc.”). The conclusion of the hymn, which is liturgical and pedagogical in style, is similar to that found in 1:17: there it says “honor and glory”, here “heaven and eternal dominion”, putting more stress on God’s sovereignty.

This and the other hymns which appear in the letter show that the first Christians were fully aware that man’s true purpose in life is to give glory to God. “We do not live for the world, or for our own honor, but for the honor of God, for the glory of God, for the service of God. That is what should motivate us!” ([St] J. Escriva, “The Forge”, 851).


Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States. We encourage readers to purchase
The Navarre Bible for personal study. See Scepter Publishers for details.


#7

**From the Navarre Bible Commentary

Gospel Reading - From: Luke 16:19-31

Lazarus and the Rich Man
------------------------**
(Jesus told them this parable:) [19] “There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. [20] And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, full of sores, [21] who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. [22] The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; [23] and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom. [24] And he called out, Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.' [25] But Abraham said,Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things, but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. [26] And besides in all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ [27] And he said, Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house, [28] for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.' [29] But Abraham said,They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ [30] And he said, No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' [31] He said to him,If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.’”

Commentary below…


#8

Commentary:*

19-31. This parable disposes of two errors–that of those who denied the survival of the soul after death and, therefore, retribution in the next life; and that of those who interpreted material prosperity in this life as a reward for moral rectitude, and adversity as punishment. This parable shows that, immediately after death, the soul is judged by God for all its acts–the “particular judgment”–and is rewarded or punished; and that divine revelation is by itself sufficient for men to be able to believe in the next life.

In another area, the parable teaches the innate dignity of every human person, independently of his social, financial, cultural or religious position. And respect for this dignity implies that we must help those who are experiencing any material or spiritual need: “Wishing to come down to topics that are practical and of some urgency, the Council lays stress on respect for the human person: everyone should look upon his neighbor (without any exception) as another self, bearing in mind above all his life and the means necessary for living it in a dignified way lest he follow the example of the rich man who ignored Lazarus, the poor man” (Vatican II, “Gaudium Et Spes”, 27).

Another practical consequence of respect for others is proper distribution of material resources and protection of human life, even unborn life, as Paul VI pleaded with the General Assembly of the United Nations: “Respect for life, even with regard to the great problem of the birth rate, must find here in your assembly its highest affirmation and its most reasoned defense. You must strive to multiply bread so that it suffices for the tables of mankind, and not rather favor an artificial control of birth, which would be irrational, in order to diminish the number of guests at the banquet of life” (“Address to the UN”, 4 October 1965).

  1. Apparently this reference to the dogs implies not that they alleviated Lazarus’ sufferings but increased them, in contrast with the rich man’s pleasure: to the Jews dogs were unclean and therefore were not generally used as domestic animals.

22-26. Earthly possession, as also suffering, are ephemeral things: death marks their end, and also the end of our testing-time, our capacity to sin or to merit reward for doing good; and immediately after death we begin to enjoy our reward or to suffer punishment, as the case may be. The Magisterium of the Church has defined that the souls of all who die in the grace of God enter Heaven, immediately after death or after first undergoing a purging, if that is necessary. “We believe in eternal life. We believe that the souls of all those who die in the grace of Christ–whether they must still make expiation in the fire of Purgatory, or whether from the moment they leave their bodies they are received by Jesus into Paradise like the Good Thief—go to form that people of God which succeeds death, death which will be totally destroyed on the day of the resurrection when these souls are reunited with their bodies” (Paul VI, “Creed of the People of God”, 28).

Concluded below…


#9

The expression of “Abraham’s bosom” refers to the place or state “into which the souls of the just, before the coming of Christ the Lord were received, and where, without experiencing any sort of pain, but supported by the blessed hope of redemption, they enjoyed peaceful repose. To liberate these holy souls, who, in the bosom of Abraham were expecting the Savior, Christ the Lord descended into hell” (“St. Pius V Catechism”, I, 6, 3).

  1. “Both the rich man and the beggar died and were carried before Abraham, and there judgment was rendered on their conduct. And the Scripture tells us that Lazarus found consolation, but that the rich man found torment. Was the rich man condemned because he had riches, because he abounded in earthly possessions, because he `dressed in purple and linen and feasted sumptuously every day’? No, I would say that it was not for this reason. The rich man was condemned because he did not pay attention to the other man, because he failed to take notice of Lazarus, the person who sat at his door and who longed to eat the scraps from his table. Nowhere does Christ condemn the mere possession of earthly goods as such. Instead, He pronounces very harsh words against those who use their possessions in a selfish way, without paying attention to the needs of others…].”

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus must always be present in our memory; it must form our conscience. Christ demands openness to our brothers and sisters in need–openness from the rich, the affluent, the economically advantaged; openness to the poor, the underdeveloped and the disadvantaged. Christ demands an openness that is more than benign attention, more than token actions or half-hearted efforts that leave the poor as destitute as before or even more so …].

“We cannot stand idly by, enjoying our riches and freedom, if, in any place, the Lazarus of the Twentieth Century stands at our doors. In the light of the parable of Christ, riches and freedom mean a special responsibility. Riches and freedom create a special obligation. And so, in the name of the solidarity that binds us all together in a common humanity, I again proclaim the dignity of every human person: the rich man and Lazarus are both human beings, both of them equally created in the image and likeness of God, both of them equally redeemed by Christ, at a great price of the `precious blood of Christ’ (1 Peter 1:19)” ([Pope] John Paul II, “Homily in Yankee Stadium”, 2 October 1979).

24-31. The dialogue between the rich man and Abraham is a dramatization aimed at helping people remember the message of the parable: strictly speaking, there is no room in Hell for feelings of compassion toward one’s neighbor: in Hell hatred presides. “When Abraham said to the rich man `between us and you a great chasm has been fixed…’ he showed that after death and resurrection there will be no scope for any kind of penance. The impious will not repent and enter the Kingdom, nor will the just sin and go down into Hell. This is the unbridgeable abyss” (Aphraates, “Demonstratio”, 20; “De Sustentatione Egenorum”, 12). This helps us to understand what St. John Chrysostom says: “I ask you and I beseech you and, falling at your feet, I beg you: as long as we enjoy the brief respite of life, let us repent, let us be converted, let us become better, so that we will not have to lament uselessly like that rich man when we die and tears can do us no good. For even if you have a father or a son or a friend or anyone else who have influence with God, no one will be able to set you free, for your own deeds condemn you” (“Hom. on 1 Cor.”).


Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States. We encourage readers to purchase
The Navarre Bible for personal study. See Scepter Publishers for details.


#10

Great Bible study by the way. We can never go wrong in immersing ourselves in the word.:slight_smile:

For people who perhaps have less time and attention span, however, a conclusive take home message from the readings would be more practical because then he would ask, what does the word speak for me today? And he would live one day at a time until the next day when that day readings would be another food for him, and like a lamp to his feet and a light for his path … .

Btw, thanks for the meditation aids. I am all for the better and looking forward to this Sunday mass having been armed and prepared for the word proclaimed and broken. :thumbsup:


#11

Thanks for the suggestion. There’s some of that mixed in with the resources on this thread, but the resources offered here are intended to minister to a broad set of needs.

Perhaps you can start a separate thread with that focus and see how it goes? If some find that “more practical”, for them it might be a nice alternative to this thread. :slight_smile:


#12

More helpful resources for this Sundays Scripture Readings:

Ignatius Insight

Msgr. Charles Pope

The Sacred Page

The Word Among Us (meditation)

The Word Among Us (questions for discussion)

Dr. Scott Hahn (text)

Free Republic Catholic Caucus

Have a blessed Sunday! :slight_smile:


#13

Thanks for the links. They are helpful and useful references.

Just back from the mass. The celebrant was our Bishop Emeritus. What strikes me about his homily was that he alluded to the rich man in the Gospel story as a consequence of a sin of omission. The rich man was not necessary a sinner or a bad person. It was just that he did not help Lazarus. For that he was cast into hell and Lazarus was with Abraham in heaven.

To my mind that brought about the stark reality of being a Christian - it is not enough for us just to not committing sin but more so we are expected to serve and help the poor. How true that on the day of judgement when the King separates the sheep from the goats, it will be on the basis of whether or not we do to ‘the least of His brethrens’. The rich man did not when he was being indifferent to the poor Lazarus and that proved to be his undoing when he met God.

And that is true of what is expected from us today. Not only that we are expected to be without sin but also that we need to be active and to reach out to ‘the least of Jesus’ brethrens’. Being a Christian comes with big responsibility. Indeed.


#14

Thanks for that excellent insight. It’s not enough for us to strive for personal purity and holiness, laudable as that is in itself. But being a Christian is more than sitting on a mountaintop and being detached from the world. We are commanded in the Scriptures to do many, many things-- so many that if you took those things out of the Bible, it would be very thin indeed.

Look at today’s 2nd Reading, for example. Saint Paul directs Saint Timothy (and by extension all Christians) to to a whole list of things. He mentions them so quickly, it’s easy to let them pass us by. We are told to:

Pursue righteousness
Pursue godliness
Pursue faith
Pursue love
Pursue steadfastness (or, “patience”, or “hope”)
Pursue gentleness
Fight the good fight of the faith
take hold of the eternal life to which you were called
Keep the commandment (i.e., the entirety of the Gospel) unstained and free from reproach

Each one of these is worthy of meditation as to what it means and how it can be applied in our lives.


#15

God willing, see you next week for next week’s Readings:

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time


#16

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