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BEING GRATEFUL FOR WHAT WE HAVE

Father Francis's picture
Second Week of Lent

Jer. 17:5-10 & Lk. 16:19-31

The fact that the rich man in today's Gospel ended his days in Hell indicates he led an evil life. And the fact that Lazarus ended his days in Heaven shows that despite his poverty he led a good life. Two different types of men are also featured in the first reading. One relied on himself and turned his back on God, which is what the rich man in the parable did. The other man put his trust in God, which is what the poor man Lazarus did.

It would be wrong to say that the rich man was evil simply because he was rich. Nor was Lazarus virtuous simply because he was poor. What made the difference was how they used their possessions or lack of them. The rich man spent all his money in self-indulgent ways, dressing smartly, eating well and living in an excessively luxurious home. He knew there was a starving beggar outside his front door and he did nothing to help him. Perhaps he had some twinges of conscience from time to time; he may have thought 'Why should I help this lazy beggar when he could get a job?' or it could be that he decided someone else should take care of him.

Meanwhile Lazarus waited patiently, hoping for a few scraps of food to come his way. He was not bitter, angry or envious. He accepted his situation patiently, trusting that in God's time he would be helped.

When Lazarus and the rich man died, the Lord gave each man what his conduct deserved. It was now that the rich man deeply regretted the opportunities he had missed but it was too late. He could have gone to Heaven if he had used his wealth generously.

What this parable teaches us is that we all need to remember that our possessions are given to us by God, that we are stewards of them and that one day we shall have to give an account of how we have used them. It does not matter how much, or how little, we have been given. If we have been blessed with wealth, may we be generous. If we have little of this world's goods at least let us be like the birds of the air who can sing the praises of God for the gift of life. All of us should be grateful to God for His love for us, as demonstrated by His giving us the gift of life and the ability to love Him and others.

Heavenly Father, whether we are rich or poor, let us be grateful for what we have. Help us to use our goods as wise stewards and thus may they help us to win a place in Your kingdom.

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