In the first reading today we have Jeremiah, the prophet, comparing how living without faith would be like living without clean water. He tries to make the people understand that life cannot go on long without one or the other. Along with other similes he explains that substitutes can replace the essentials temporarily but they will never last. Human friendship can perhaps take up God’s place: pleasures and plenty will supply for life’s disappointments: and youth will make every effort to hold off old age. But eventually friends do move away, become infirm or pass to the next life. Pleasures will succumb to some pains, medications, handicaps and occasionally even needed hospitalizations. But eventually, death overcomes us all.
In the second reading from Luke, Jesus tells his listeners a parable of how this actually takes place. How Dives travelled the road from riches and opulence to the pit of eternal suffering and how Lazarus having suffered through pain and privation, endured his temporal abandonment, but staying close to God, now enjoys eternal rest in Abraham’s bosom. To people who no longer put their trust in God, Jesus believes his parable will be a more effective warning than even if he sent Dives back from the dead. Why? Because as Jeremiah tells us…
The idiom “more tortuous” is defined by Webster’s Dictionary meaning: “marked by twists or turns, devious.” Beginning another Lenten Season, I find how well “tortuous” applies to the many devious turns and starts and stops I’ll make in my Lenten Resolutions before I get to Easter. May the Good Lord strengthen all of us, who still put our trust in the Lord, to grow more stalwart hearts to offer the Risen Lord on Easter Sunday.
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