March 21, 2019
In Jeremiah, the reading deals with turning away from worldly promises and possessions and trusting in the Lord. The scripture passage says “Thus says the Lord…Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord.” The reading is saying that worldly possessions, greed, fame, fortune, prestige, etc, is not what will get us into Heaven and is not what our focus should be. Instead, what is important is helping others and following what Jesus has taught us – to love our neighbor and that will lead us to our salvation. Therefore, we should trust in the Lord, hope in the Lord and know that the Lord will provide for all of our needs and not be fearful when there are problems in our lives because God will protect us and stand with us. The Lord says that he will “reward everyone according to his ways, according to the merit of his deeds.” This passage is saying “keep your eye on the prize” and do not focus on worldly gratification but trust in the Lord and do good deeds and the Lord will reward us for this. This passage from Jeremiah is very thought provoking and inspiring and meant to focus on what is really important in life, which is trusting in the Lord, helping our fellow man and following Jesus’ examples, and if we do this, our reward will be spending eternity with God in Heaven.
Today’s passage from Luke is the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Here again, the Lord is saying that the “rich man” who had fine clothes, ate well and had substantial worldly possessions but did not care for the poor, feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty or clothe the naked and follow God’s teachings, would not receive eternal life in Heaven. Instead, the reading says that Lazarus, a “poor man” would reap the rewards of Heaven. Once the rich man who did not follow God’s laws and teachings realized that he was in Hell, he asked that Lazarus be sent to warn his five brothers to repent, but Abraham said that if the rich man’s brothers would not listen to Moses and the prophets, they would not be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead. This passage is similar to the first reading from Jeremiah in that these readings provide a promise and a warning. The promise is that if we follow God’s laws and be a good person and not focus on what the world deems to be important, our reward will be eternal life; however, if our focus is on worldly possessions and greed and we do not help the poor, give food to the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned and be good and charitable to our neighbor, we will not be rewarded with eternal life. That is the warning that these passages are giving us. If we want the reward of eternal life, we have to put aside what the world believes is important and focus on what God tells us is important.
St. Anthony Parishioner (parish representative for Vision 20/20)