Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Thursday of the Second Week of Lent2

Thursday of the 2nd week Lent

 

Readings: Jer 17:5-10; Lk 16:19-31.

1/ First Reading: NAB Jeremiah 17:5 Thus says the LORD: Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the LORD. 6 He is like a barren bush in the desert that enjoys no change of season, but stands in a lava waste, a salt and empty earth. 7 Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD. 8 He is like a tree planted beside the water 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. 9 More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it? 10 I, the LORD, alone probe the mind and test the heart, to reward everyone according to his ways, according to the merit of his deeds.

2/ Gospel: NAB Luke 16:19 "There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. 20 And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. 22 When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.' 25 Abraham replied, 'My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. 26 Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.' 27 He said, 'Then I beg you, father, send him to my father's house, 28 for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.' 29 But Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.' 30 He said, 'Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' 31 Then Abraham said, 'If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'"


I. THEME: We must trust in God more than in man.

           

            If people believe of something that shall make them happy, they shall make an effort to possess that thing. For examples, if they think money shall make them happy, they shall look for money in all possible ways. If they think power is the key for happiness, they shall try to secure a high position in the society. And if they think happiness doesn’t depend on passing values of this world, they shall look for lasting values of the eternal world.

            Today readings emphasize the need to trust in God and in the lasting values. In the first reading, the prophet Jeremiah showed us two kinds of people with two different faith, and the results they shall receive: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord. He is like a tree planted beside the water that stretches out its roots to the stream... its leaves stay green; in the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit... But cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a barren bush in the desert that enjoys no change of season, but stands in a lava waste, a salt and empty earth.” In the Gospel, Jesus also gave two examples to teach people a lesson, a rich man and Lazarus, a beggar. The rich man used his money for purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day; while Lazarus covered with sores, would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. When both passed away, the situation was reversed, Lazarus was seated in Abraham’s bosom; while the rich man was tortured in painful flames.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: To put our faith in the correct person

1.1/ Two different kinds of faith: Vietnamese proverbs has a sentence, “choose face to deposit gold, choose people to believe.” For example, in choosing spouse to marry. If one carefully selects the future spouse according to the spiritual values, his marriage shall last; but if one doesn’t care about the spiritual values or only looks for temporal values, how can his marriage can be lasted? Similarly, when we choose the one to entrust both our soul and body, we must decide between God, people or material gains. When we put our trust in someone or something, we shall act according to our trust. In the passage today, Jeremiah gave us two basic choices and their results.

            (1) Trust in people: “Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a barren bush in the desert that enjoys no change of season, but stands in a lava waste, a salt and empty earth.”

            Jeremiah lived in the historical time during which the majority of the Israelites, kings and people, turned their back to God. Hezekiah, the king of Judah, trusted in the Egyptian king than in God. The result was the nation and the temple were completely destroyed by the Babylonian king and all Israelites were on exile. The most naive decision of human being is to trust in any of God’s creature, instead in the Creator who creates and controls all things. The devil always tries to tempt people to pay attention to temporal values and to ignore lasting values, to forget the past and not to worry about the future.

            (2) Trust in God: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord. He is like a tree planted beside the water 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.”

            When a wise person lives according to his wisdom, the selection of God is obvious because He is the origin of all things. He knows none can have power to bless and to protect him as God. St. Polycarp, when was tempted to give up his faith in God, courageously answered to his persecutors, “In 86 years I had served Him, He never cause any damage for me. How can I sin against my King and my Redeemer?”

1.2/ God sees everything that happen in human mind: When people trust in something, they will live according to it; their life is the proof of their faith. When people must appear before God’s judgment, they can’t lie to God that they believed God in their mind or tongue, because their life is the proof for their faith. Jeremiah also warned those who have a double life: “More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it? I, the Lord, alone probe the mind and test the heart, to reward everyone according to his ways, according to the merit of his deeds.”

2/ Gospel: Two different faith and two different results

2.1/ The rich man trusted in himself and in material things: Only in two verses, St. Luke showed us the injustice of human beings: “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man's table.”

            The next life was the reverse of what happened in the earthly life. “When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.'”

2.2/ Lazarus trusted in God: God creates all things in the world for everyone to use; people aren’t the owners, but the stewards of God’s creation. Therefore, people have no right to squander material things while the poor have nothing to eat. If people refuse to share their belongings to the poor, they shall have to listen to what Abraham said to the rich: “My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.”

2.3/ A lesson for the living: We must receive all results of our lifestyle. If people don’t know how to live, they should spend time to learn from the Scripture. The repentance requires much effort and time, not when people want thay shall have it. The rich man asked Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his five brothers who are also living such a life, but Abraham answered him: “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.”

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                    

            - We can only choose one of these two things: trust in God or in people. We can’t serve two masters, “both God and mammons.”

            - Whatever we believe we shall live according to it; our life is the expression of what we believed. We can’t believe God only in our mind or mouth.

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