16th MARCH

Catching a glimpse of what God requires - heeding his word

Luke 16: 19 - 31

“They have Moses and the Prophets;  let them listen to them.”

It might be helpful to start today’s reflection by pointing out what this story is not about.  Although there is mention of money - Lazarus the beggar had none and the rich many had plenty - it is not a story primarily about money.  It is not even a story about heaven and hell and who  might be going to one or the other.  It is not an historical account, but a story:  a story that points to a truth about the choices we make in life.  It is, at the end of the day, a story about faith and what authenticates our faith i.e. brings it to life.

The rich man’s downfall was not his wealth per se.  It was what he did, or didn’t do, with it that was the problem.  He had so much money and the description of how he was dressed at the beginning of the passage testifies to that.  He had more than enough which is why he “lived in luxury every day”.  This rich man was put to the test, but didn’t even notice it.  The test was the very presence of the beggar.  Yet, neither the rich man’s faith nor the sight of the beggar were enough to move him into doing something to make a difference which was in his power to do.  This man’s faith was real to him.  It just didn’t penetrate his heart and lead to an outpouring of compassion which, if had been the case, he would have given and given generously.

Then, when we look at Lazarus, we can conclude from the story that it wasn’t his poverty that saved him.  Lazarus was poor when it came to possessions, but when it came to faith he was rich beyond measure.

In the story both men had faith and trusted in God, but did they listen to what God requires?  Lazarus obviously did. Do we?  The reference to Abraham and what he had to say about listening to Moses and the Prophets is a reminder of the law and the prophecies which, in summary, point to the golden rule of faith:  love God, love your neighbour.

During Lent it is important that we consider very carefully who guides us in life and what guides in life.  Is it what we have and who we aspire to be or is it what we have to share and what the Lord requires of us in our relationship with him and each other?

  • What motivates you in life?  What drives you above everything else?  What can you learn from the two characters in this story?

Trust and obey. . .

You invite us Lord God to trust and obey. . .

Open our lives to your guidance.

Open our hearts to your generosity.

May our lives gently guide others as we share  who we are and what we have.

AMEN.