As today’s First Reading reminds us, those who turn from God and put their trust in men and things of the flesh are spiritually like a scraggly bush in a dry and burning desert. The Rich Man in today’s Gospel doesn’t even have a name; after living the high life, maybe not at the expense of Lazarus, but certainly indifferent to him, he found himself a dry bush in the spiritual desert in which he’d planted himself, far from the fleeting comforts of his life that faded away. If our thirst for the things of this life at the expense of our concern for God and for others remains, we know that someday we’ll never be able to slake it again as a consequence of our actions: we’ll have planted ourselves in a desert and let our roots go deep.
Today’s First Reading also reminds us that those who trust and hope in the Lord have a source of life that will survive every adversity and continue to be full of life in eternity. Today’s Gospel describes Lazarus, infirm, poor, and so alone that he only had dogs for company. Yet he persevered in hope, simply by not lamenting his situation and also not deciding to take matters into his own hands by robbing, maybe even murdering, the unjust man on whose doorstep he was languishing. The moral of the story is to place your hope and trust in the things that really last. God lasts forever, and sooner or or later shows himself to be worthy of our trust, but only after it is tested. Health, riches, and power don’t last forever, so we shouldn’t act as if they will, or else we too will find ourselves in a desert thirsting for what was and lamenting what could have been.
Ask Our Lord to help you see where your trust is placed today, and to help you firmly root your life in him, the only lasting thing worthy of trust.
Readings: Jeremiah 17:5–10; Psalm 1:1–4, 6; Luke 16:19–31.