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 Fourteen of Lent: Thursday of the Second Week of Lent – Luke 16
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” -Lk 16:31.
Today’s Lenten Reflection[Additional Readings: Luke 16:19-31; Jer. 17:5-10]
Many people today lean towards the skeptical. They wish to be persuaded of things that can be seen or felt over having blind faith – Two plus two must equal four or we’re not buying anything they’re selling. Because of that more modern way of thinking, today’s Gospel message has been known to make people uncomfortable. Even unbelievers know deep-down that Jesus’ words are 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 starts to make more sense. Holy Scripture records a rich man in hell saying to Abraham in Heaven that he had “already received what was good” during his lifetime (which was temporal riches). At the end of the story, we find the rich man begging Abraham to send a messenger to warn his brothers (on earth) that they need to shape up because, as he was witnessing, Heaven and hell were indeed real. The story serves as a reminder that even when two plus two doesn’t equal four in the physical sense, it still adds up in the spiritual sense … and is therefore still true.
What our earliest Christian ancestors innately knew to be true many centuries ago is just as true today for us. Unfortunately, however, we don’t usually put a lot of credence in things or people who go against life as we know it or see it. Think about it, up until this point have you been willing to do all that Christ has commanded in order to reach eternal life? Because much of what He requires goes against all we know to be true in this world. While the optimist in us wants to say, “Yes, I have!” – the truth-teller in the pit of our stomachs knows better. This is because what Jesus asks of us is not easy. Not only is it contrary to the world, it requires a steadfast faith.
Day 14 Lenten Meditation
If we were to focus only on the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus, it would be easy to get discouraged. Does a good life today 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). In other words, it is not so much the physical stuff that keeps us from Heaven. Rather, it is us treating the physical stuff – secondary stuff – as more important than God; putting temporal goods or “false gods” in place of God as the essential in our lives. As you reflect on this week’s reading, ask yourself: If everything ‘materialistic’ was gone tomorrow, could you still find total peace and joy in the Lord? As God continues to tests our hearts, ask Him for the grace to respond according to His will.
God of abundance, we are so grateful for the many blessings You have bestowed upon us. Help us to be generous toward those who are less fortunate in any area of life. Help us also to remember that with or without material wealth, with You we are rich in faith, hope and love – and in the end that is all that matters. Loving Father, heal the wounds that alienate our hearts from others so that we may reach out to our brethren and see them in You and You in them. It is in Your good and holy Name we pray, amen.
Today’s suggested Penance
Do something charitable for the homeless or for a person in materialistic need. Give more than what you normally would give.
“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.