Scripture: 1st Reading: Jer17,5-10; Resp. Psalm: Ps1,1-4,6; Gosp. Accl.: Lk8,15; Gospel: Lk16,19-31
No man can be trusted. This is because no one knows what goes on within the heart of man. The appearances of life, the external shows, do not always reflect what goes on deep within the heart. In practically all instances, we give our affirmation on the basis of these external things we observe about who the other human person is. That is why it is foolhardy to trust in man.
The word of God in today's first reading makes us understand too clearly that to trust in man and make any living creature our strength is a curse. Our lives will be like a shrub in the desert that sprouts but never survives the desert's hard weather because there is no depth and little or no water and nourishment for the roots.
This is why it is good to put our trust in the Lord who knows that it is His responsibility to take care, guide and guard us. When we do this, we remain evergreen, fruitful and radiant. This trust is rooted within our hearts. The trust must be rooted within us. We must never allow the things of the world to becloud our vision of the things of heaven. We must never let our attachment to ourselves blind us from realizing the agony that others suffer.
The heart is the place where we plan to do good. It is also the place where we perfect all evil acts. The rich man in today's gospel refused to do good with his life. He refused to see God in Lazarus, his poor neighbour. He cared only about himself, his comfort and luxury, his public image, his wasteful life.
He cared more about giving food to those who had no need of food because they could provide anything for themselves and neglected those who would die if they had nothing to eat. He held feasts for those who would repay him back by inviting him to their own feasts. He had an exclusive idea of charity that locked out those he did not want. That was his greatest undoing.
The rich man in today's gospel blocked his heart from feeling the pain Lazarus was in. For him, Lazarus had no name. Dogs were even more kind to Lazarus and took notice of him by licking his sores to keep the flies away. Such was the heartlessness of this man who had everything to be neighbour to his less privileged brother but who refused to be bothered.
Lent is about listening to the word of God and meditating on its implications for our lives. One of the pillars of Lent is almsgiving, that is, being there for our brothers and sisters in the difficult needs and necessities of their lives. Lent is about not closing our eyes, hearts and minds to those who are less fortunate than we are.
Is there a poor man close to us? Do we have eyes to see them and hearts to include them in our programs and financial plans? Do we realize that ultimately we are not rich in everything and that that so called poor man also has something to give us that no one else can give us? Do we realize that what we have does not belong to us but rather that we are mere stewards of our possessions?
Let us listen to the voice of the Lord this day and enter into His peace. Let us allow His word to have a place in our hearts. O that today we listen to His voice, let us not harden our hearts.
Today is the first day in the month of March. The Lord has been gracious to make us see this new month, the third in this year. May He protect us throughout the course of the month, guide, guard and direct all our actions, bless the labours of our hands, grant us good health of mind and body, give us healing and a new beginning from the failures of our past lives. Happy New Month.
Let us pray: "O God, who delight in innocence and restore it, direct the hearts of your servants to yourself, that, caught up in the fire of your Spirit, we may be found steadfast in faith and effective in works." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.