Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Our readings for Sunday are here

These are the poems, my notes, and interpretations of Fr Dennis’ homily from the Mass of

  • September 29, 2013 10:10AM


The poem Fr Dennis references this year is:

In 2013, we reflected on —

  • “carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham” — the bosom is the choice position at a banquet, e.g., John leaning his head on Jesus’ chest at the Last Supper.
  • There is a revelation of Jesus in the gospel reading in the final two lines, the stone the builder rejected.
  • The New Jerome Biblical Commentary shares that a parable akin to the one about Lazarus is known throughout the Middle East and is thought to have originated in Egypt.  The main elements are the rich / poor reversal in the afterlife and that justice is somehow righted in the next world.
  • However, the gospel version doesn’t include the gloating of the Egyptian version, and the Egyptian version doesn’t include the Abraham-Dives/Rich Man dialogue. NJBC Comment 43:151, 2nd edition, p 708.
  • For the Hebrew people in ancient times God is God of the people and the land itself; God is the owner, everyone else is a tenant farmer and all tenants had to return a share of their harvest as rent.
  • Thus, the relationship between wealthy and poor, something is owed, e.g., the extra cloak in your closet belongs to the poor.
  • In the poem, To Dives, the word “Dives” means “wealth” and a Latin derivative, essentially “To Rich Man.”

You might have noticed the notes are from the 10:10AM Mass. When I first returned to the church, St Mary’s had nine Masses (“Come to the monster Mass rally at St Mary’s on Sunday! Sunday!! Sunday!!!“) including an overflow Mass for the 10AM Mass in the main church, which might regularly have 600 people. The overflow Mass stagger started at 10:10AM in the basement and had a following among those who loved being with kids (their own and others!) being kids, and that included Fr Dennis. 200 or more folks might fill the hall, but sometimes it was smaller and more intimate.

The New Jerome Biblical Commentary (NJBC) referenced in one of the bullet points is a verse-by-verse Catholic commentary on Hebrew and Christian scripture, incorporating the most recent historical, scriptural, scientific, and literary analysis into one 1,000+ page volume.  The First Edition was published in 1968 (part of that breeze from the window opening of Vatican II), and the Third Edition — this year (2022) with a foreword by Pope Francis.  A certain D2 (aka Fr Dennis Dillon, S.J.) introduced me to this work.  It was good to be invited into the three millenia long conversation with and about God and how it was captured in the NJBC.  When reflecting on the Sunday’s reading (or any other), and I find myself stuck or unclear what was meant — specifically or as context, the NJBC often has a comment that clarifies or illuminates.  We are not alone in our questions and questing.

On a roll with James Janknegt, who also offered this entry’s featured image — his version of Lazarus and the Rich Man parable in today’s gospel.

Lastly, this gospel (though a different year, I think) also prompted D2 to share the Mary Lou Williams musical version of this gospel, “Lazarus”, from her Mass for Peace, a jazz setting for a Catholic Mass.  There is more context on this entry of the blog.

But for now, enjoy! The music of Mary Lou Williams was a gift I could share with my Dad who introduced me to boogie, rag, and stride. After a lifetime, us amateurs didn’t find “new” artists often, but Ms. Williams’ music and stories were a jewel to sharing during what turned out to be our last ten years together.

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