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Sunday, September 26, 2010

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26th Sunday Ordinary Time

Amos 6:1, 4-7
1 Timothy 6:11-16
Psalm 146:6-10
Luke 16:19-31

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hardened hearts

"Woe to the complacent." —Amos 6:1

People can become so complacent, hard, and insensitive that they don't even notice beggars at their doors (Lk 16:20). Beggars may be laying there on the ground and covered with sores, but still they're not noticed (Lk 16:20). Beggars may only be asking for the garbage which has fallen from our tables, but still we refuse to acknowledge these people as human beings (Lk 16:21). Even dogs may be more sensitive to beggars than we are (Lk 16:21).

How can a human being become less sensitive than a dog? How can we refuse even to give our garbage to the poor? How can we deny the personhood of the poor, refugees, and babies in the womb? The rich man in today's Gospel reading became hard and insensitive through the influence of money, clothes, and food (Lk 16:19). The complacent and insensitive people of Amos' time hardened their hearts by living lives focused on creature-comforts, pleasure-seeking, and selfishness. Furniture, food, music, drinks, and cosmetics were their downfall (Am 6:4-6).

If our lifestyle has become a death-style, if selfishness is destroying our sensitivity to others' needs, what can we do? Even if someone would be raised from the dead, we are too hardened for that to affect us (Lk 16:31). Hearing "Moses and the prophets" (Lk 16:31), that is, the Bible, is our best chance for coming back to life out of the death of selfishness and sensuality. Then we can care and love again, and recognize people as images of God. Read, hear, pray, and live God's word "for dear life."

Prayer:  Father, may Your word be a hammer (Jer 23:29) to break my hardened heart.

Promise:  "Their wanton revelry shall be done away with." —Am 6:7

Praise:  Praise You, risen Jesus! "Absolute fullness resides in" You (Col 1:19). Alleluia!

Reference:  (See www.presentationministries.com for titles and information on upcoming retreats.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 8, 2010

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