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” -Luke 16:31.
Today’s Lenten Reflection[Additional Readings: Luke 16:19-31; Jer. 17:5-10]
People today are skeptical of almost everything. Because of this they need to be persuaded of things that cannot be seen or felt in the temporal realm. Not so ironically, this is how people thought in the time of Jesus as well which is why He said, “If they [would] not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.”
Keeping this in mind, the conversation between Abraham and the rich man begins to make more sense. Scripture records “the rich man” in hell (notice how the rich man isn’t given a name!) professing to Abraham in Heaven that he had “already received [on earth] what was good” during his lifetime – his temporal riches. At the conclusion of the story, the rich man begs Abraham to send a messenger to warn his brothers who are still alive on earth that they need to begin living godly lives because, as he now witnessed, Heaven and hell are real.
What our earliest ancestors knew to be true many centuries ago is still true for all of us today. Unfortunately, man doesn’t usually put a lot of stock in things not of this world, i.e. into spiritual things – especially in the twenty-first century. As an example, think for a moment how often you pray compared to the amount of time you spend watching TV or scrolling the Internet. How often do you think about eternal things, eternal salvation, and St. Paul’s command to work out your salvation with “fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12) as opposed to what you will eat for dinner? The optimist would say they do so more often than not, but the truth-teller knows better. This is because what Jesus asks of us is not easy. It is indeed the narrow path which is contrary to the ways of this world and requires a transformational faith – a steadfast, courageous, and perseverant faith.
Day 14 Lenten Meditation
Now if we were to focus only on the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus, and not on the life-saving guidance the Lord has given us, it would be easy to remain discouraged. But when we focus on God’s Word and promises, there is no reason to be.
The first reading from the Book of Jeremiah gives us our first roadmap, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord … whose hope is the Lord” (Jer. 17:7). Blessed is he who trusts in the Lord; whose hope is in Him! You see, it’s not the physical stuff in and of themselves that keeps us from traveling the holy way of God. Rather, it is us treating temporal things as more important than Him; putting these things in place of Almighty God. As you reflect on this week’s reading, ask yourself: If everything materialistic in your life was gone tomorrow, could you find total peace and joy in God alone? As He continues to test our hearts, ask Him for the grace to respond by putting Him first and keeping Him there.
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 what matters most. Loving Father, heal the wounds that alienate our hearts from You, from believing, and 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 need. Give more than what you would normally 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.