Readings for Thursday March 4, 2010
First Reading: Jeremiah 17:5-10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 1
Gospel: Luke 16:19-31
Thus says the LORD: Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a barren bush in the desert that enjoys no change of season, But stands in a lava waste, a salt and empty earth. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit. (Jer 17:5-8)
In today's first reading, the prophet Jeremiah gives us a great analogy comparing those who trust in God and those who trust in people. We see that trusting in people brings no good, and leaves our life in waste. While the person who trusts and hopes in the Lord, enjoys His blessings and will bear a life of good fruit, even in the most difficult of times. In the gospel reading today, we see the same comparison, but instead of using trees and bushes, we hear the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man only thought of himself during his life, he most likely put no trust in God, but rather all in himself. We can see that that mentality lead him to an eternal life of torment and suffering, kind of like the barren bush in the dessert. Lazarus however, had a hard and difficult life, but we never heard of him complaining or wallowing in self pity. The Lord saw it fit for Lazarus to be carried up into the "bosom of Abraham" where he finally had comfort and peace. It is no doubt that he became like the tree planted in by the cool stream.
These stories show us that without a life for the Lord, our life has no meaning, and will bear no fruit; not to mention what kind of an eternity it will lead us to. We each have a choice in this life, we can spend our years loving and serving the Lord, and not holding anything back; or we can spend this life loving and serving ourselves. If we choose to put our trust and hope in earthly things, we will be disappointed in the end, just as the rich man was. However, if we are willing to put our trust and hope in the Lord, then we will be able to make it through anything in this life and our lives will be blessed and always bearing good fruit.
Placing your hope in the world and trusting in yourself will lead to nothing, while trusting and hoping in the Lord will lead to everything.
Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for another day to go out and love and serve you, help us to hold nothing back from you, just as you hold nothing back from us. Lord, we love you , and we place our hope and trust in you; help us to do this even when it is the most challenging. We pray for all of those in need of conversion, we pray for all of our fallen away brothers and sisters, and we pray for all the souls in purgatory. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.