In the First Reading from the Book of the Prophet Amos, the Prophet denounces the rich who exploit and take advantage of the poor. The merchants considered the Sabbath an intrusion into their questionable business transactions. The insensitivity of the rich toward the poor will be punished by exile. Amos challenged the people of Northern Kingdom to change their ways as God’s judgement was imminent.
In the Second Reading from St. Paul's First Letter to Timothy, Paul presents to Timothy a way of life that flows from his Baptism. He is saying that when we take up our baptismal commitment, we promise to live according to all of the teachings of Christ and, indeed, to reflect the very life of Christ Himself. Paul also begins with a list of virtues that Timothy should pursue, implying energetic dedication to living as Jesus did: in righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. The energy of pursuing virtue is also for all of us to compete well for the faith.
The Gospel Reading is taken from the Gospel of Luke. Jesus tells the parable about the beggar Lazarus and the rich man. The parable is addressed to the Pharisees who believe that wealth is a token of God’s blessing and poverty a sign of God’s disfavor. The rich man suffers the torments of the nether world at his death. It is not because of his wealth that the rich man finds himself in a place of torment, but because he failed to use his wealth to bless those who were less fortunate. Awareness of God’s justice provides a challenge to all who hear the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.