Then Abraham said,
“If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.”
Day 16: Thursday of the Second Week of Lent – Luke 16:31
Then Abraham said, “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.”
Additional Readings today: Luke 16:19-31; Jer. 17:5-10;
Today’s Lenten Reflection
Many of us tend to lean towards the skeptical. We want to be persuaded of things. Two plus two must equal four, or we’re not buying anything they’re selling. For me personally, it may be the reporter in me. Or maybe the fact that, prior to my conversion, I hadn’t been raised with any religion. Either way, many of us are skeptics by nature. So when we read today’s Gospel, it can make us a little uncomfortable … primarily because deep down we know it is true: “If they [would] not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.” When thinking about it this way, the conversation between Abraham and the rich man makes more sense when he said that he [the rich man] had already “received what was good” during his lifetime. At the end of this story, the rich man begs Abraham in Heaven to send a messenger to warn his brothers (on earth) that they need to shape up, and fast. That what they have been told has been true all along … even when two plus two doesn’t seem to equal four in our vastly limited knowledge.
In today’s reading, Abraham reminds us that what we all innately know to be just and true is just as true today as it was then. We don’t put a lot of credence in things or people that go against life as we know it or suggest that we change radically. If we had to put ourselves back into Jesus’ world, would we have been willing to do what he said must be done to reach eternal life, even if it went against everything we believed up to that point? Are we willing to do that today? The optimist in most of us says, “Yes, we are!” But the truth-teller deep down knows better, because what Jesus asks of us is not easy. So the question is: Are we willing to accept that sometimes, according to Jesus’ plan, two plus two may have to equal three?
Day 16 Lenten Meditation
If we focus only on the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus, it would be easy to get discouraged. Does a good life now preclude us from a good life later? The first reading from Jeremiah gives us a clue: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord … whose hope is the Lord” (Jer. 17:7). It’s not the physical stuff that keeps us from Heaven but rather our insistence on thinking we need that stuff to be happy more than we need God. If everything was gone tomorrow, could we still find joy in the Lord? If God tests our hearts, how will we respond?
God of abundance, we are grateful for our many blessings. Let us be generous toward those who are not so fortunate. Help us to remember that with or without material wealth, we are rich in faith, hope and love. Loving Father, heal the wounds that alienate our hearts, that we may reach out to our brothers and sisters and see them in You, and You in them. Amen.
Today’s suggested Penance
*Do something charitable for the homeless and read a story in the Bible and believe it.
“Spread love everywhere you go … Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor … Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier” – Saint Teresa of Calcutta.