Looking ahead to the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, we're faced with very strong Scripture texts that stand as judgment on our lives and our lifestyles.
The first reading, from the prophet Amos, gets right to the point: "Woe to you who are complacent, stretched out comfortably on your sofas, eating well, listening to music, having a few drinks and dousing yourself in expensive perfumes, lotions and after-shave! Your good times are about to end and after that..."
The Gospel, from Saint Luke, is the familiar and riveting story of the rich man and the beggar, Lazarus, who begged for scraps from the wealthy man's table. If that's not enough to stir your memory of this tale then either you are not familiar with the Gospels or you are in denial! What becomes of Lazarus and the rich man in eternity should be enough to make most of us squirm in discomfort.
The second reading is another passage from Saint Paul's first letter to Timothy. The tone is more positive here, as Paul instructs Timothy to "compete well for the faith, to keep the Lord's word without stain or reproach, to lay hold of the life to which we have been called." Strong language here but more challenging than judgmental.
There's really no wriggling out of the bare truth of these Scriptures.