Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Thursday, March 20, 2014 - Lenten Weekday

Thursday, March 20, 2014 - Lenten Weekday
Today's Holy Gospel - Luke 16: 19 - 31

19 "There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.
20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Laz'arus, full of sores,
21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried;
23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Laz'arus in his bosom.

24 And he called out, `Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Laz'arus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.'

25 But Abraham said, `Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Laz'arus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.

26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.'

27 And he said, `Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house,
28 for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.'

29 But Abraham said, `They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.'

30 And he said, `No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.'

31 He said to him, `If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.'"

Gospel Reflections - [Source:rc ] 
In the parable of Lazarus and the rich man 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 incapacitated. 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 procured 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! 

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 treasure. He not only had every thing he needed, he indulged in his wealth to excess. He was too absorbed in what he had 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!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 (Liturgical Year A, Cycle II )

Liturgical Year A, Cycle II 

In this morning's Gospel, from Luke 11:29-32, Jesus mentions the “Sign of Jonah”:

Pieter Lastman, Jonah and the Whale (1621)

When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah became a sign to the men of Nin′eveh, so will the Son of man be to this generation. The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nin′eveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
There's a three-fold meaning to that sign:
  1. It's a prophesy about the Death and Resurrection of Christ. Jonah spent three days in the belly of the fish, and then returned to the earth (Jonah 1:17), prefiguring the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus makes this connection pretty explicitly in Matthew 12:40.

  2. It's a prophesy about the destruction of Jerusalem, forty years after the rejection of Christ. Jonah's message to Nineveh was, “Yet forty days, and Nin′eveh shall be overthrown!” (Jonah 3:4). Christ warns the people of Jerusalem of their wickedness (including in Luke 11:29, above), and says that the Temple will be destroyed (Matthew 24:1-2). Jerusalem doesn't convert, and forty years after the death of Christ, Jerusalem (including the Temple) is destroyed by the Romans. This also fulfills Psalm 95:10-11.

  3. It's a prophesy about the salvation of the Gentiles, and the resentment that this will cause.  When the Ninevites repent, God has mercy upon them (Jonah 3:10). Jonah resents this, because they're Gentiles (Jonah 4:1). When the same mercy is offered the Gentiles in Acts 10, it leads to the same resentment amongst some of the Jewish believers (Acts 11:1-3).
Scripture is amazing. That is all.