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Burdens Made Light

First Reading: Amos 6:1A, 4-7

Thus says the LORD the God of hosts:
Woe to the complacent in Zion!
Lying upon beds of ivory,
stretched comfortably on their couches,
they eat lambs taken from the flock,
and calves from the stall!
Improvising to the music of the harp,
like David, they devise their own accompaniment.
They drink wine from bowls
and anoint themselves with the best oils;
yet they are not made ill by the collapse of Joseph!
Therefore, now they shall be the first to go into exile,
and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 146:7, 8-9, 9-10

R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!
Blessed he who keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!

Second Reading: 1 Timothy 6:11-16

But you, man of God, pursue righteousness,
devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.
Compete well for the faith.
Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called
when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses.
I charge you before God, who gives life to all things,
and before Christ Jesus,
who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate for the noble confession,
to keep the commandment without stain or reproach
until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ
that the blessed and only ruler
will make manifest at the proper time,
the King of kings and Lord of lords,
who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light,
and whom no human being has seen or can see.
To him be honor and eternal power. Amen.

Gospel: Luke 16:19-31

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man’s table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
Abraham replied,
‘My child, remember that you received
what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, 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.’
He said, ‘Then I beg you, father,
send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers,
so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.’
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.’
He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’”

NAB

sept-25-1

If Saint Paul were to write you a letter today, he might say something like this:

But you, [wo]man of God, pursue righteousness,

devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.

Compete well for the faith.

Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called.

This is the kind of thing I could read everyday to remind me of how I am supposed to live. I have a similar passage on the wall in my bedroom, for I love to read the litanies in the letter of Saint Paul. He was able to embody in a few words how Christians are to live, and gives the life we are called to such a noble sound. For it is a noble call; greater than that which we are naturally inclined. We are to pursue, compete, and lay hold of eternal life. This is not something we can do complacently, but something we must do purposefully.

Yet so often life can be overwhelming and burdensome; it is hard to think of pursuing more than what we are already doing. The call to holiness sounds exhausting. But doing what Saint Paul asks will make life lighter, not harder. When we seek passionately after eternal life, our burdens are made light and we receive the grace that we need. I have often found that it is when life is more difficult that seeking grace becomes second nature. I am more able to automatically offer my burdens to God. It is when my life is easier that I become complacent. And that is a real danger to the spiritual life. We must not let the joys of life or the cares of life keep us from laying hold of eternal life.

[bctt tweet=”We must not let the joys of life or the cares of life keep us from laying hold of eternal life.” username=”blessedisshe__”]

So take a look at your life, where you are. Has life become burdensome, and you need to seek God’s grace through your burdens? Or is life lighter these days? Are you praying as you should? Are you seeking eternal life? What can you do to pursue these things? How can you go deeper? Do not be overwhelmed, but be encouraged by Saint Paul’s call.

Susanna Spencer once studied theology and philosophy, but now happily cares for her three adorable little girls, new baby boy, and her dear husband in Saint Paul. She loves beautiful liturgies, cooking delicious meals, baking amazing sweets, reading good books, raising her children, casually following baseball, and talking to her philosopher husband. You can find out more about her here.

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