March 4, 2021
Malvern Minute


Thursday of the Second Week of Lent

March 4, 2021

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Saint Mary Magdalen Parish, Media, PA

Memorial Feast:  Saint Casimir (1458-+1484) Patron Saint of Lithuania

Book of the Prophet Jeremiah 17:5-10

Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4 and6

Luke 16:19-31


            Today’s Gospel narrative of Lazarus and the rich man paints a dramatic scene of contrasts; riches and poverty, heaven and hell, compassion and indifference, inclusion and exclusion.  Additionally, we see an abrupt reversal of fortune.  Lazarus which means “God is my help,” was not only poor but also incapacitated.  I suspect that the dogs that licked his sores probably stole the bits of food he managed to procure for himself.  Incidentally, dogs in the ancient world symbolized contempt.  Enduring the torment of these feral animals only added to the poor man’s miseries and suffering.  The rich man treated the beggar with contempt and indifference until he found his fortunes reversed.

            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 torment because his wealth got the best of him.  He was in torment because, like many of us, he did nothing so that the life of Lazarus would become better; he did nothing about the rights of the poor and did nothing to ease their suffering.  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 other words, he committed the sins of omission and pride. 

            Friends, 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 to remove its depiction of how God will ultimately vindicate the cause of the poor.  The message has been clearly stated and we have been given all the warning we would ever need.

Question of the Day

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 Theresa of Calcutta. 


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