YEAR C: HOMILY/REFLECTION FOR THE 26TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
TOPIC: SIN OF OMISSION
BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
Gospel: Lk 16:19-31 – The Rich Man and Lazarus
Message # 181: “Faithful, Prompt and Obedient”
(TO THE PRIESTS, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons, Marian Movement of Priests)
- The Marian Message
a) The Blessed Mother gives this message as Queen. She demands faithful, prompt and obedient response from us her children. She is not only the Mother of Jesus, but she is also His first and most faithful disciple. She gives us her example for us to follow so that we, in turn, may become worthy followers of Jesus.
b) “Faithful” (letters c to h) – this means we should follow everything commanded us by God and to do everything the Blessed Mother told us to do; fulfilling our duties according to our state of life; moving ahead in following Jesus without waiting for human approval, encouragement or support (no political and selfish motivations); readiness to suffer in silence for the sake of God.
c) “Prompt” (letters i to n) – this means following the Blessed Mother’s orders without hesitations and doubts; making use of the weapons of prayer, rosary, suffering and self-offering; no more mistrust and uncertainties when it comes to the will of God for us so that we can proceed promptly and swiftly in His name.
d) “Obedient” (letters o to r) – this means silent, humble and perfect obedience to God and His Church through the Pope and the bishops united with him (because there are bishops who are not united with the Pope); the perfect example of obedience to the Father is Jesus Christ who obeyed even to the point of dying on the cross. “I want you to be disciplined in everything, even in the smallest things…obedient to the norms that regulate your (priestly) life.”
- The Sunday Readings
a) Amos is the prophet of social justice. Through him, God condemned all kinds of injustice among the people of Israel. In the reading this Sunday (Am 6:1a, 4-7), Amos lashed out at the extravagant and luxurious lifestyle of the people, unmindful of the needs of the poor in their midst. To them, he pronounced God’s sentence: “Therefore, now they shall be the first to go into exile, and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.”
b) The Psalm (Ps 146: 7-10) is a song of hope for the sake of the poor, the captives and strangers. Despite man’s injustice and indifference to their plight, the Lord is their refuge and protection, and the sure source of freedom and victory. Hence, it invites us to “Praise the Lord, my soul.”
c) In his Letter to Timothy (1Tim 6:11-16), Saint Paul exhorts him to be a good leader of the people entrusted to him: “Pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.” In truth, this exhortation applies to every Christian. We cannot be complacent and unmindful of the events surrounding us, for no one knows the day of reckoning. Hence, the Apostle’s challenge: “I charge you… to keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
d) The Gospel (Lk 16:19-31) is the Parable about the Rich Man and Lazarus. Jesus tells this parable to warn people against the sin of omission. In the final judgment, the question will be on how we have responded to the commandment of love. Simply avoiding evil is not enough. We are expected to bear abundant fruits of love, kindness, mercy and generosity towards our brothers and sisters in need.
e) The readings are related to the Marian message. Christian life consists in actively following Jesus. There is no room for complacency, passivity and negligence. The Blessed Mother urges us to become “faithful, prompt and obedient” followers of Jesus. We have to reject all kinds of injustice and immorality, which the prophet Amos has strongly condemned. In a more positive note, we have to heed St. Paul’s admonition to “pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.” We have to always keep in mind the lesson of the parable, that doing nothing for our brothers and sisters is actually doing harm to them, and inflicting irreparable damage to our eternal future.
- Points for Reflection
a) Many people who go to confession think only of sins of commission. They confess the sins they have done. That is why they would readily believe that they do not need to go to confession because they were able to avoid doing bad. But being a good Christian does not consist only of avoiding sinful acts. Rather, it mainly consists of doing good and helping others. Failing to do so is more serious sin, that is, the sin of omission. In fact, as the Gospel tells us, it is the sin of omission that can bring us down to eternal damnation. At the Last Judgment in Matthew 25, the question is not about the sins we have committed. Instead, the question is about the good things we should have done: did we feed the hungry? Did we give drink to the thirsty, clothing to the naked and welcome to strangers? This is well illustrated in the parable this Sunday – there was no mention about the rich man being unjust or dishonest, and yet he was condemned to hell because he did not attend to the needs of Lazarus at his gates.
b) We always hear about the “Silent Majority” in the Church. There are many dissenters and noisy complainers in the Church. But they are not the majority. The vast majority in the Church are those who hold on to the true faith in silence and peace, not at all affected by the chaos, noise and controversies in the world. They are the silent majority. But if we look deeper, their silence is most likely not out of simplicity and humility, but is rather motivated by fear and the desire to live in comfortable insulation. They choose to be silent and uninvolved because they do not want to be in trouble. They do not want to lose their safe and quiet comfort in life. These are the folks who are sinners of omission – the “do-nothing-folks”. What they do not realize is that doing nothing, and keeping silent in the midst of the attacks against the faith and the sufferings of our people, is more harmful to everybody. The lesson of history should never be forgotten. Hitler and the Nazis were able to push their evil plans against humanity because most bishops of Europe kept quiet. The Muslims under Mohammed were very successful in overrunning the ancient Christian civilizations in the first jihad, as well as almost the entire of Christian Europe in the second jihad because many Christians did not do anything. The present situation is no different. The evils of communism, materialism, relativism, sexual perversions, immorality, abortions, modernism, freemasonry, illegal drugs and many other evils are spreading rapidly and with impunity because the majority of Catholics choose to keep quiet and remain uninvolved. One day, as what happened in the past, we will wake up with a society totally lost in the hands of evil. If the majority continues to remain silent and indifferent, very soon we will altogether fall down the cliff of damnation. That is how vicious the sin of omission is. It is often said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” The famous philosopher and statesman, Edmund Burke said, “Nothing is so fatal to religion as indifference.”
c) God created us as His children in freedom. He wants us to be free from any enslavement of sin and worldly things. That is why, in many of his teachings, Jesus insisted on detachment and renunciation: “Renounce your possessions and follow me.” The rich young man wanted to attain eternal life, but could not have it because he was not free – he could not renounce his possessions. The rich man in the Gospel this Sunday could not renounce his wealth as well. And in his enslavement to material comfort and pleasure, he was blinded by them and chose to ignore Lazarus at his gates. He was not free. But enslavement to material things can happen not only to the rich, but also to the poor. There are many poor people who are preoccupied in looking for their next meal that they have no more time to think of God. They also are slaves to material things. That is why we have to always check ourselves, lest we become slaves to sin and worldly things without noticing it in time.
d) Death is final. This is clear in the case of the rich man in the parable. After death, there is no more chance for conversion or reparation. And for those condemned to hell, the separation from God and His kingdom is absolute: “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.” This is a very strong and scary warning to us. Many people take the present life for granted. But we are reminded that this life is the prescribed time and opportunity for preparation for eternal life. If we cannot be trusted with passing things in this life, we cannot also be trusted with eternal things in the life to come. Moreover, this life gives us all the chances and graces for conversion and spiritual maturity. When our life in this world is over, all these chances are gone, and there is no way we can undo the final sentence. Let us not waste a single minute in this life. Let us grab every opportunity that comes to do good works and grow in holiness. As the song says: “Minsan lamang ako dadaan sa mundong ito. Kaya anumang mabuting gagawin, dapat gawin ko na ngayon.”
e) “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.” This highlights the great value of the legitimate teachers in the Church. God appointed official teachers of the faith: Moses, the prophets, the apostles and their successors, namely, the bishops united with the Pope. This is called the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church, the Teaching Authority of the Church. Many of us are still looking for heavenly signs and concrete proofs in order to believe. That is why many people are fooled and misled by false prophets who can perform healings and other signs. These signs are not what really matter in our spiritual life. What truly matter are the authentic teachings of Jesus being proclaimed by the Church Magisterium. Disregarding these teachings will surely lead us astray, putting us in real and grave danger of losing our eternal destiny. Hence, the Blessed Mother urges us in her message to become “faithful, prompt and obedient” followers of her Son Jesus.
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