26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C – Homily

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Amos 6:1a, 4-7
1 Timothy 6:11-16
Luke 16:19-31
September 29, 2013

Paul writes to Timothy to offer him guidance as the leader of a community.  Paul’s instructions to Timothy might sound simple.  “Compete well for the faith” and “keep the commandment without stain or reproach.”

It’s not a long list of rules that seems impossible.  Basically, Paul is telling Timothy to live in accord with God’s plan, avoiding sin.  It is what we want to do but it isn’t as easy as we would like.

The fact of the matter is that we fall short at times.  We sin.

Generally, I think when we talk about sin we tend to focus on what we did wrong.  The commandments follow this approach, don’t steal, don’t kill, and don’t lie.  We also think of sin in terms of feelings like angry and greed.  This still focuses on what actually happens (emotions).

Our readings today point to another type of sin, sins of omission.  What is it that we should do but don’t?

The rich man in the gospel is an excellent example.  He’s rich with fine linens and extravagant food.  Yet, there is poor Lazarus is sitting right at the rich man’s door but he does nothing to help Lazarus.  How much could he have done?  We don’t know except that since he was rich, he clearly could have done something.

So, in examining our conscious we need reflect on what we could have done?  Would there be any end to this?  We could second guess ourselves on everything and then some.  I don’t think we need to do this on everything.

Our conscience will help us to realize what we need to think about.  First and foremost, if we feel bad about something we didn’t do, then we need to reflect on it.

We can ask ourselves why we did or didn’t do something?  The rich man didn’t help Lazarus.  Why?  Was it because of greed (desiring to keep his riches for himself)?

Or was he complacent, like those that Amos talks about?  Do we look at the poor and say we don’t care?  Maybe this is the way the rich man felt about Lazarus.  He only seemed to care about Lazarus when he realized he was sent to Hell instead of Heaven.

I don’t mean to make anyone feel bad by pointing out sins you had never thought of.  We are basically good.  We are created in God’s image.  We are created to be good and to do good.  We just mess up along the way and need forgiveness.

The good news is God wants to forgive.  If there was no hope of God forgiving us, God would never have sent his son to die for us on the cross.  What possible benefit could there be in Jesus’ death if not for the forgiveness of our sins?

Jesus’ death is the ultimate expression of God’s love.  There is nothing God won’t do for us.  God’s forgiveness knows no limit.

However, there is something we must do to receive God’s forgiveness. I believe God is always ready to forgive but God doesn’t force his forgiveness on us.

To receive God’s forgiveness, we must ask for it.  To ask for God’s forgiveness, we must first admit we have done something wrong.

To do so, Jesus has given us the gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, commonly known as “confession” but it is most than just confession.  This sacrament is all about fixing what has been broken by sin.  The point is to be reconciled to God.  God is the only one who can make this happen.

We should not dread the sacrament but rather see it as a gift.  In December, we will have twenty-four students in our parish receive this sacrament for the first time.  Today they begin their final preparations by pledging in prayer and study.  Their parents pledge their support and

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