Thursday of the Second Week of Lent
Memorial Feast: Saint Casimir (1458-+1484) Patron Saint of Lithuania
Book of the Prophet Jeremiah 17:5-10, Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6, Luke 16:19-31
The Rich Man and Lazarus by Leandro Bassano, circa 1590-95
At the end of their lives, Lazarus found himself in the bosom of Abraham, not because he was poor and incapacitated, but because he did not lose hope in God. His eyes were set on a treasure stored up for him in heaven.
When the rich man died, he was in torment in the netherworld. He was in agony because his wealth got the best of him. He was in misery because, like many of us, he did nothing so that Lazarus's life would become better; he did nothing about the rights of the poor. He did nothing to ease their suffering. He lost sight of God and heaven's treasure because he was preoccupied with seeking happiness in material things. He served wealth rather than God. In other words, he committed the sins of omission and pride.
God's eternal judgment has everything to do with how we use wealth in this life and whether we attend to those less fortunate in our midst. We should never allow any temptation to explain away a story like this and remove its depiction of how God will ultimately vindicate the cause of the poor. The message is clear, and we have been given all the warnings we will ever need.
Prayer: Make us worthy, Lord, to serve those people throughout the world who live and die in poverty and hunger. Give them through our hands, this day, their daily bread, and by our understanding love, give them peace and joy. Amen. (Prayer for the Poor by Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta)