Thursday, 1 March 2018 : 2nd Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the stories and reminders from the Scriptures, which is an apt reminder to each and every one of us to be careful and indeed be mindful on how we ought to live our lives and on what we depend on in our respective lives. Let us begin first by looking into what we have heard from our Gospel passage today, the story of Lazarus and the rich man.

In that story, we saw the contrast between Lazarus, a poor man who often sat just outside the large mansion belonging to a rich man, hoping that he could eat from whatever scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. It was likely that Lazarus was so poor that he could not even afford anything to eat and satisfy his daily needs, to the point that he had to beg for the food.

Meanwhile, the rich man had everything that he needed, from food, drinks, friends, company of loved ones, possessions, shelter over his head and all other forms of earthly needs. He was good in everything save for the fact that he was unable to see the plight of the poor man who was sitting just outside of his residence. He had everything that he needed, but he kept them all to himself and did not lift a finger to help Lazarus, who was in great need.

In the end, we heard how both eventually met the end of their earthly lives and existence. We all know that everyone will meet and experience death at the end of their lives, and thus the same thing happened to both Lazarus and the rich man. Yet, the fates awaiting the two of them each could not be much more different, one from the other one.

Lazarus went up to heaven and sit beside Abraham, the ancestor of the people of Israel and many other nations, a righteous servant of God, deemed worthy of the glory of heaven promised to those who have been just and faithful to God. Meanwhile the rich man fell into damnation and the sufferings in hell, which is reserved for Satan and all those who have disobeyed God, and had willingly refused to follow the Lord.

In the first reading today, taken from the book of the prophet Jeremiah, we gained some deeper insight of what had happened to the two of them. It is about how and what we put our trust in, be it in God or be it human beings and worldly matters. The prophet Jeremiah made it very clear that if we trust in worldly things and in our own strength, we will likely end up drawn away from God, and fall into the temptations to sin.

But if we put our trust in God, we will grow ever more in faith, and we will draw closer to Him. It may be a life filled with challenges and difficulties, but we can be sure that God is always on our side. While the wealth and all the goods we have in this world may bring us happiness to a certain extent, but they will not last forever, and eventually they may perish and be destroyed.

Similarly, regardless of all the bountiful riches and goods that the rich man possessed, none of those came to his rescue or were available to him when he fell into the eternal suffering in hell. He was suffering all by himself, and without any hope of rescue and salvation, as he has lost all the opportunities given to him by God, to touch the lives of others, especially the poor Lazarus sitting by his doorstep.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, what we need to know is that we sin by both doing what is wicked and sinful in the eyes of God, but also by not doing what we can do in order to truly be followers of the Lord. God was not against the rich and those who have more possessions and wealth, as some would try to argue it that way. Instead, God wants us to make good use of what He has blessed us with.

To those of us who have been more blessed than others, we should learn to share our joy and blessings, especially to those among us who have little or none to be joyful. This is why in this season of Lent, we are called to be more generous in giving, be more charitable in our love towards our brothers and sisters. Let us make good use of our time during this Lent to be ever more devoted and committed Christians, loving our fellow brethren more.

Let us not abandon or ignore all the ‘Lazaruses’ we see around us. Let us show mercy, love and compassion to these brethren, who may need our care, attention and other forms of help. May the Lord move our hearts to be ever more loving and dedicated in all the things we do, for the good of our brethren. May God bless us all. Amen.

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