26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

National Seafarer’s Day

First reading: Am. 6:1,4–7

Thus says the LORD the God of hosts: Woe to the complacent in Zion! Lying upon beds of ivory, stretched comfortably on their couches, they eat lambs taken from the flock, and calves from the stall! Improvising to the music of the harp, like David, they devise their own accompaniment. They drink wine from bowls and anoint themselves with the best oils; yet they are not made ill by the collapse of Joseph! Therefore, now they shall be the first to go into exile, and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.

Second reading: 1 Tm. 6:11–16

But you, man of God, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Compete well for the faith. Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you before God, who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate for the noble confession, to keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ that the blessed and only ruler will make manifest at the proper time, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, and whom no human being has seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal power. Amen.

Gospel: Lk. 16:19–31

Jesus said to the Pharisees: “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’ Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’ He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’ He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’” 

In other words 

Fr. Antonio Pernia, SVD (Divine Word Institute of Mission Studies, Tagaytay City)

The Jewish writer and holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, was a prisoner in the Auschwitz concentration camp. In his 1962 novel, The Town Beyond the Wall, he tells the story of what he calls “the spectator,” that is, about a man who lived in an apartment overlooking the town square. Each day this man peered down from his apartment window, watching as thousands of Jews were herded into the death trains. Wiesel writes that the face of this man reflected no pity, no pleasure, no shock, not even anger or interest. The face was indifferent to the spectacle. He was simply a spectator.

Wiesel says that, in a certain sense, he could understand the brutality of the prison guards and the executioners in the concentration camp. What he could not understand was the indifference of the man by the window, the indifference of the “spectator.” And so, Wiesel began fighting indifference, writing about it, speaking about it. In his Millennium Lecture at the White House, he said, “The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference; the opposite of education is not ignorance, but indifference; the opposite of art is not ugliness, but indifference; the opposite of life is not death, but indifference.” Doing nothing.

In today’s Gospel parable, the rich man ended up in hellfire not because he did something evil to Lazarus, the poor man lying outside his door. He did not object to the poor man’s presence outside his house; he did not call the police to have the poor man removed from his house; he did not push or kick the poor man out of his property. He did nothing to the poor man. But that precisely is the reason he ended up in hellfire. He did nothing. He was indifferent. He was simply a spectator. Or, maybe, not even a spectator. For apparently, the rich man did not even notice the poor man outside his door. Indeed, utterly indifferent. And when the rich man did see the poor man, it was too late. From his place of torment, “he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.”

What today’s Gospel condemns is the sin of INDIFFERENCE—the sin of “doing nothing” in the face of human suffering, the sin of looking the other way and refusing to get involved. This is the sin of the priest and the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk. 10:29–37), and the sin of those condemned to eternal punishment in the parable of the Last Judgment (Mt. 25:31–46). “What you did not do for one of these least brothers or sisters of mine, you did not do for me.”

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