The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
What sustains you when trials and affliction come your way? The prophet Jeremiah tells us that whoever relies on God will not be disappointed or be in want when everything around them dries up or disappears (Jeremiah 17:7-8). God will not only be their consolation, but their inexhaustible source of hope and joy as well.
Jesus’ parable about the afflictions of the poor man Lazarus brings home a similar point. In this story Jesus paints a dramatic scene of contrasts – riches and poverty, heaven and hell, compassion and indifference, inclusion and exclusion. We also see an abrupt and dramatic reversal of fortune. Lazarus was not only poor, but sick and unable to fend for himself. He was “laid” at the gates of the rich man’s house. The dogs which licked his sores probably also stole the little bread he got for himself. Dogs in the ancient world symbolized contempt. Enduring the torment of these savage dogs only added to the poor man’s miseries and sufferings. The rich man treated the beggar with contempt and indifference, until he found his fortunes reversed at the end of his life! In God’s economy, those who hold on possessively to what they have, lose it all in the end, while those who share generously receive back many times more than they gave way.
The name Lazarus means God is my help. Despite a life of misfortune and suffering, Lazarus did not lose hope in God. His eyes were set on a treasure stored up for him in heaven. The rich man, however, could not see beyond his material wealth and possessions. He not only had every thing he needed, he selfishly spent all he had on himself. He was too absorbed in what he possessed to notice the needs of those around him. He lost sight of God and the treasure of heaven because he was preoccupied with seeking happiness in material things. He served wealth rather than God. In the end the rich man became a beggar!
Do you know the joy and freedom of possessing God as your true and lasting treasure? Those who put their hope and security in heaven will not be disappointed (see Hebrews 6:19).
“Lord Jesus, you are my joy and my treasure. Make me rich in the things of heaven and give me a generous heart that I may freely share with others the spiritual and material treasures you have given to me.”
The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
HARD HEART, BURN
“If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if one should rise from the dead.” Luke 16:31
The human heart is so twisted and deceitful (Jer 17:9) that most of us, even in a world of instant communication, do not notice hundreds of millions of starving people at our doorsteps (see Lk 16:20). We have made our hearts so hardened that, even if someone were raised from the dead to warn us, we would not repent (Lk 16:31). If we ever change, it will be through God’s Word from Moses’ Pentateuch to the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament (see Lk 16:31).
Jesus dramatically practiced what He preached in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. On the afternoon of the day in which He rose from the dead, He knew that His Resurrection would be only the beginning of opening humanity’s hardened heart. So the risen Jesus spent the first resurrection afternoon and evening interpreting “every passage of Scripture which referred to Him” (Lk 24:27) and opening His disciples’ “minds to the understanding of the Scriptures” (Lk 24:45).
At each Mass, the risen Christ continues to proclaim the Scriptures. Daily Mass is our best opportunity to let God change our hearts. Then we will love the poor and love the Lord. Expose your heart daily to God’s Word proclaimed by the risen, eucharistic Lord.
Prayer: Father, may my heart burn and melt when I hear Your Word (see Lk 24:32). Promise: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: it fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; in the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.” Jer 17:7-8 Praise: The leaders of Brian’s youth group regularly organize Confession and Eucharistic adoration “parties” for their members.
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from February 1, 2015 through March 31, 2015.
Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements