September 24-25: Preparing to Celebrate Sunday’s Mass

This Sunday’s Scriptures provide a warning: that the selfish and extravagant use of God’s blessings, like wealth, with no share going to the poor and the needy, is a serious sin deserving eternal punishment. God’s Holy Word stresses the truth that wealth without active mercy for the poor is great wickedness. It warns us against making money the goal of our existence. At the end of our lives, God will check only what kind of persons we were and what good we did for others in imitation of Jesus the Lord. Essentially, we can be reassured that we are on the right road when we use our earthly wealth to attain our heavenly goal.

The prophet Amos, in particular, issues a powerful warning to those who seek wealth at the expense of the poor and who spend their time and their money only on themselves. He prophesies that those rich and self-indulgent people will be punished by God with exile because they don’t care for their poor and suffering.

In today’s Gospel (Luke 16, 19-31), Jesus points to the destiny of the rich man who neglected his duty to show mercy to poor Lazarus. The rich man was punished, not for having riches, but for neglecting the Scriptures and what they taught.

Let us pray. “O God, who have made known your glory by sharing with us your tender mercy, shower us always with your abundant grace. Help us long for the fulfillment of your promises and make us heirs to the treasures of heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”


Food for Thought: The story is told of a Franciscan monk in Australia who was assigned to be the guide and assistant to Mother Teresa of Calcutta when she visited New South Wales. Thrilled and excited at the prospect of being so close to this great woman (and living saint), he dreamed of how much he would learn from her and what they would talk about. But during her visit, he became frustrated. Although he was constantly near her, he never had the opportunity to say one word to Mother Teresa. There were always other people for her to meet. Finally, her tour was over, and she was due to fly to New Guinea. In desperation, he finally spoke to Mother Teresa: “If I pay my own fare to New Guinea, can I sit next to you on the plane so I can talk to you and learn from you?” Mother Teresa looked at him. “You have enough money to pay airfare to New Guinea?” she asked. “Yes,” he replied eagerly. — “Then give that money to the poor,” she said. “You’ll learn more from that than anything I can tell you.”

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