BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO TAKE THE WORD OF GOD TO HEART
(Thursday March 21, 2019)
The gospel of today presents us with a fascinating and popular story of the rich man and Lazarus. It is fascinating because it shows a practical situation between the world of the rich and that of the poor. The rich man, spiritually poor trusted in his wealth and eventually his riches failed him at the end, incapable of securing him the kingdom of heaven. On the other hand, the poor man, spiritually rich trusted in God and eventually his trust never failed him rather won him the kingdom of heaven. Note that neither richness nor poverty was the reason for the fate of both the rich man and Lazarus. To be rich is not bad but how to use the riches is what is important. It was his greediness and his high level of insensitivity that landed the rich man to hell fire at the end of the day. Mind you it was not as a result of being rich that made Christ told this parable but how to use that which God has given us at the services of others.
It could be riches of this world, it could as well be wisdom, talents and intelligent God has endowed us with. Whatever we think that we possess comes from God and must be charitably used for the common good, to enrich us physically and spiritually and to enrich others as well. Charity saves. It is not the amount but the attitude. It was unfortunate that the rich man did not even give something for Lazarus to feast on. Even better for the dog who was allowed by Lazarus to lick his sores! Jesus made sure that the message is clear. The contrast shines. We are here to care for each other. Those who have must share with those who have nothing or less. Greed has no place in a place where a Christian resides.
The first reading today is indeed one of the good readings of the Lenten period encouraging us to be charitable and involve ourselves in doing almsgiving as one of the observances of the Lenten period. Many have set their minds on riches thinking that it will last forever but unfortunately, such riches and trust failed them. This is exactly what the first reading today set out to condemn concerning those who put their trust in man. It says “A curse on the man who puts his trust in man, who relies on things of the flesh, whose heart turns from the Lord. He is like dry scrub in the wastelands: if good comes, he has no eyes for it, he settles in the parched places of the wilderness, a salt land, uninhabited. ‘A blessing on the man who puts his trust in the Lord, with the Lord for his hope. He is like a tree by the waterside that thrusts its roots to the stream: when the heat comes it feels no alarm” (Jeremiah 17:5-10).
In fact, the gospel reading is the practical application of the first reading of today. Trusting in man here is like putting one’s trust on riches or wealth as the rich man did and eventually such disappointed him and that of Lazarus was glaring that he trusted in God and such trust got him the reward at the end. Let us use this holy period to set our minds on those things that will win us God’s kingdom at the end of our earthly sojourn.
Let Us Pray: Lord God, help me to be sensitive to the needs of others may I be ready and willing to help others with what you have given to me. Amen.