March 17, 2022 – Thursday of the Second Week of Lent

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In the first reading, Jeremiah highlights the choices put before each of us – either, to trust only in the goods of this created world OR to hope in the Lord, who is Creator and Provider of all good. A reminder for us in our Psalm.

Where do we turn now for our inner security, peace, and forgiveness? Remember, the human heart can be devious. Despite our best intentions, self-interest would always immediately come first! Only God can give us a “new heart and new spirit”, cleanse our inner most intentions and being; changing our hardened and stony hearts with hearts of flesh. [Ez. 34:5].[1]

This is something being elaborated to us in today’s Gospel. The rich man in the Gospel story enjoyed his life and trusted only the goods of this world while the poor Lazarus suffered very much outside his gate. However, there was a turn of events when both of them died. The rich man, who pretended not to see the poor situation of Lazarus ended in hell while Lazarus was carried by the angels.

The Gospel reminds us that indeed, success and security in life is not about being what we have accumulated or about the material possession that we have amassed. We are only truly successful and secured when we have built lasting and true relationships with people around us and with God.

Yet, the sin of the rich man was not by being materially rich but by becoming indifferent and blind to the suffering of people around him. He was blinded by his possessions and was not able to see and recognize that Lazarus was suffering. He did not even offer any help to the poor man. The rich man had no relationship whatsoever with Lazarus. He was only being possessed by his possessions. He hoped and trusted only his wealth and himself.

This was how the rich man had grown ungrateful to God for the gifts he received in his lifetime. He was ungrateful because he felt entitled that only him should enjoy the richness in his life. He did not open his eyes and hands to give others a chance to live a better life through his help.

Thus, when we become ungrateful we also take for granted the giver of gifts, and thus, the presence of God in our life. Jeremiah puts this in this way, “Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the LORD.”

This happens to us as well when we remain ungrateful and refuse to recognize that everything we have is a gift. Be cursed to us, indeed, when we become ungrateful for we also become self-entitled, demanding in our relationships. Yet, stingy of our time and energy and ungenerous of our resources and presence to those who are asking for our help. And most of all, we become indifferent to people around us and indifferent to God, the source of true hope and security in our life.

Thus, as Jeremiah reminds us, let us find security and assurance in God’s goodness and faithfulness. This is what it means to hope in the Lord that makes our heart grow and be filled with gratitude. Hinaut pa.

[1] From the homily of Fr. Manoling Thomas, CSsR


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