Most of us are familiar with GPS functions in our Car. In today’s 1st Reading from the Prophet Jeremiah, we get some strong Instructions from the Lord God about finding a life-giving way to live ‘life’ to the fullest! These tried-and-true directions are our GPS for life. In such a poetic way, Jeremiah and his community, in speaking the Word to us, make it very clear which is the best and right path for us. Hence, the community response to the first Reading is summed up succinctly in the Refrain: Happy are they who hope in the Lord.
In Matthew’s Gospel today, Jesus paints a story which may not be unfamiliar to us….’ wanting to have it both ways. We saw what a horrible, sad, selfish way Dives ended up! While Lazarus, not having all the creature comforts of Dives, followed the true Biblical GPS in his life and merited eternal life!
The pleading conservation between Dives and Abraham is a tricky one…Dives shows his familiarity with the scriptures by quoting the first couple of words of Verse 1, Psalm 51 to Abraham, ‘Pity me’. Abraham replies with truth and graciousness that it is not about just knowing the Law of the Lord; it’s about having it as part of one’s bone marrow and living it!
In his shrewdness, Lazarus asks Abraham to warn his Five brothers about the life consequences of his own behaviour! No way! They already have the Torah….5 books! The five brothers and people like them in Israel haven’t listened, and neither will they take heed of Jesus.
This is a good solid shot in the arm for us during Lent.
Kevin Walsh is a priest in the Diocese of Parramatta in Sydney. He has been formed in the Passionist tradition, and Ministers to the Aged, the Sick, the Dying and the Bereaved.