March 16, 2017
by Mark Latta
Creighton University's School of Dentistry
click here for photo and information about the writer

Thursday of the Second Week of Lent
Lectionary: 233

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

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Today’s Gospel reading tells the very familiar story of the rich man who knew, but virtually ignored Lazarus. We are reminded of Matthew 25:40 “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” by this sad story of this rich man’s hardened heart.

I suspect that people of good will, reading these reflections, might show compassion for such a man suffering as Lazarus if confronted so blatantly (“lying at his door”). Our challenge is more subtle in our full, busy and noisy lives. We should ask ourselves who in our lives our Lazarus is. We may be often tone deaf to the brokenness of those around us. We must open our hearts fully to the Holy Spirit to reveal to us who around us is in need or our special love and support because of their life situation which may not be physically obvious but could be just as devastating as the destitution Lazarus experienced.

The rich man valued things over people, and he paid a very high price for his lack of compassion.  Let us always strive to be humble and kind and sensitive to the movements of the spirit drawing us to those in physical or emotional need of our support and love.

Jeramiah’s admonition in the first reading also supports rejection of the priorities of the rich man. In rejecting trust in human beings, he is not asking us to divorce ourselves from people, but to become indifferent to the values of the world -- to our human temptations and weaknesses -- and focus on trust in the Lord.

Indeed the verse before the Gospel in today’s readings says it all “Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart and yield a harvest through perseverance.”

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