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Scripture reflection: ‘It is the Lord who keeps faith for ever’

19 September 2019

LECTIONARY READINGS
First reading: Amos 6:1, 4-7
Psalm:
145(146):6-10
Second reading:
1 Timothy 6:11-16
Gospel:
Luke 16:19-31

Link to readings

This week’s readings remind us that we are called to share our gifts and possessions with those who have less than we do.

Our faith in the promises of Jesus is demonstrated by the way we live.

In the First Reading the prophet Amos speaks forcefully to those who enjoy a life of luxury and leisure but ignore what is happening in the world around them. He tells them that God deplores the way they are living.

The Gospel story illustrates how those who want to follow God’s values must take care of the poor and those in need. Jesus points out to his hearers that he is not saying anything that Moses and the prophets have not already told them.

The Psalm is a hymn of praise to the Lord who is on the side of those who are oppressed, who gives food to the hungry and sets prisoners free, who raises up those who are bowed down. In our day, we can help to fulfil these promises for those in need.

Paul exhorts Timothy to live as a man dedicated to God should live (Second Reading). By doing so he will be a witness for Jesus, speaking up for the truth.

This week we pray to live even more faithfully as Jesus’s disciples.

SECOND READING
1 Timothy 6: 11–16

As a man dedicated to God, you must aim to be saintly and religious, filled with faith and love, patient and gentle.

Fight the good fight of the faith and win for yourself the eternal life to which you were called when you made your profession and spoke up for the truth in front of many witnesses. Now, before God the source of all life and before Jesus Christ, who spoke up as a witness for the truth in front of Pontius Pilate, I put to you the duty of doing all that you have been told, with no faults of failures, until the Appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who at the due time will be revealed by God, the blessed and only Ruler of all, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, who alone is immortal, whose home is in inaccessible light, whom no one has seen and no one is able to see: to him be honour and everlasting power. Amen.

REFLECTION

As I come to my place of prayer, I may like to pause for a few seconds, recalling how God our Lord gazes at me, inviting me and welcoming me.

I settle slowly in my chosen place and ask the Holy Spirit to help me to pray. I take my time; however long or short a space I have, I do not rush.

When I am ready, I read the passage from St Paul’s letter to his younger fellow worker and friend. I may like to imagine sitting with Timothy as he reads these precious phrases slowly, savouring each word; perhaps he reads aloud to me.

I notice the words or phrases that seem to strike me in particular. What do I think or feel about them? Perhaps encouraged, challenged or daunted … or …?

I talk with Timothy, or with God or Jesus as I am moved. I can be honest and open, whatever my thoughts and feelings. How do I want to respond?

I ask for whatever grace or help I need.Like Timothy, I know I can rely on Jesus to help me.

After a while, I bring my prayer to a close. Perhaps I read again Paul’s hymn of praise that ends this passage I have been praying.

Glory be ...

GOSPEL
Luke 16: 19–31

Jesus said to the Pharisees: ‘There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day. And at his gate there lay a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to fill himself with the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even came and licked his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.

‘In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus in his bosom. So he cried out, “Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames”. “My son,” Abraham replied, “remember that during your life good things came your way, just as bad things came the way of Lazarus. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony. But that is not all: between us and you a great gulf has been fixed, to stop anyone, if he wanted to, from crossing from our side to yours and from crossing from your side to ours.”

‘The rich man replied, “Father, I beg you then to send Lazarus to my father’s house, since I have five brothers, to give them warning so that they do not come to this place of torment too.” “They have Moses and the prophets,” said Abraham, “let them listen to them.” “Ah no, father Abraham,” said the rich man, “but if someone comes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Then Abraham said to him, “If they will not listen either to Moses or the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead.”’

REFLECTION

After coming to stillness in whatever way is best for me, I ask the Holy Spirit to help me grasp the meaning of this Gospel passage in my own life. Jesus tells this as a parable, a story with a deeper meaning, so I need not understand the imagery literally if it is unhelpful for me.

Taking time to ponder all the good things I have worked for and been gifted, I give thanks. I talk with Jesus about how I have used all that I have received. I listen for whatever God might bring to my attention.

Are there ways in which I might share these gifts even more generously? What simple steps might I take this week?

I end my prayer slowly, perhaps asking for the grace to notice the times and places when my gifts are needed for others.

Prepared by St Beuno’s Outreach in the Diocese of Wrexham

 

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