Daily Homily: Blessed Is the Man Who Trusts in the Lord

Second Week of Lent, Thursday

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Jeremiah 17:5-10
Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6
Luke 16:19-31

The liturgy today sets up a parallel between the two men in the Book of Jeremiah and the rich man and Lazarus in the Gospel of Luke.

The rich man is indifferent to the sufferings of Lazarus. Instead of loving God above all things, he trusts solely in human strength and power. Although he is rich and has many material possessions, he is actually barren – like a bush in the desert – and empty – like salted earth or a lava waste. Because his life is not anchored in God, he is like chaff that the wind drives away. Ultimately, his indifference to God and to others brings upon himself the curse of eternal separation from God.

Lazarus, on the other hand, is blessed. In spite of his hunger, suffering and material want, he continues to places his trust and hope in the Lord. He does not fear, because he knows that God is at his side. He is like a tree that is firmly rooted in the ground, with deep roots that reach the waters of life. He perseveres in difficult times because his security is not in things that pass away, but in God who is always faithful.

Jeremiah reminds us that we will be rewarded or punished according to our way of life. If we are materially rich, we are called to be good administrators who alleviate the sufferings of the poor. The rich man in today’s Gospel is barren, without fruits. Instead, united to the vine of Christ, we are called to bear much fruit, thirty, sixty and a hundredfold. The rich are called to store up heavenly treasure and to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to their brothers and sisters. Their prayer should be one of thanksgiving for the benefits received and of petition for the virtue of prudence and the gift of counsel in the use of those goods.

If we are materially poor, we are not to lament our situation, but rather place our trust in God and work to better our situation. Like Job, Lazarus does not curse God because of his condition. We should remember here that Christ is present in the poor and the humble and that what we do for the least of our brethren, we do for Christ. As well, Christ calls his disciples to sell all that they have, give to the poor, and to follow him on the road to the Cross.

Jeremiah also points out that it is difficult to understand the human heart. This is because the heart is like an inner sanctuary where man and God meet. It is the place of encounter where we decide for or against God. As Jesus’ disciples, we are called to prefer him to everything and everyone. Detachment from riches and love for neighbor are obligatory for entrance into the Kingdom of heaven.

Readers may contact Father Jason Mitchell at mitchelljason2011@gmail.com.

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Jason Mitchell

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