The theme of today's readings is really trust. So much is said in the opening verses of today’s first reading from Jeremiah 17. “Thus says the LORD: Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the LORD. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD.” God then goes on to say that everyone will be rewarded “according to his ways, according to the merit of his deeds.”
The Gospel reading today is from Luke 16. It is the story of Lazarus and the rich man. Lazarus, a poor beggar, dies and goes to bosom of Abraham. The rich man, at whose home Lazarus begged for food day after day, dies and goes off to eternal torment. The rich man asks Abraham if he can go back and warn his brothers that they will share in his fate if they don’t repent and change their ways. Abraham tells him, “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.”
There are two important ways that these readings connect. First, each of the characters in the Gospel story were rewarded according to their ways. The rich man ignored the needy Lazarus and received his due. Second, each reaped the rewards of his trust. Lazarus trusted God. The rich man put his trust in himself and his riches while he was on earth. A blessing came to Lazarus, and a curse to the rich man. With that in mind, we should ask ourselves – In whom am I putting my trust? Do you trust your financial adviser, or yourself, or your bank account more than you trust God?
Father, we trust in you. Help us to more fully and completely trust every moment of every day. Amen.
Help people learn the faith in a minute by getting them the five volume set of A Minute in the Church at www.GusLloyd.com.
I love this Gospel passage and, for the life of me, cannot understand how any bishop can deny the existence of Hell – of if there is a Hell, that it is unoccupied.
I think I’ll just take Jesus’ word for it!