May 25, 2008 - The First Sunday after Trinity

Daily Lectionary: Ecclesiastes 2:1-26; John 7:1-13

Today's Reading: Luke 16:19-31

“They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.” (St. Luke 16:29)

In the name of Jesus. Amen. Jesus’ account of the rich man and Lazarus has much to teach us. It’s a reminder to believers and nonbelievers of what is most important in this life. The rich man liked his stuff. He didn’t like to share. He watched others such as Lazarus suffer, even as he begged for mere crumbs from the table. The rich man died and went to hell.

Then there was Lazarus. We don’t know much about him, other than that he was poor. He had sores. He begged. He also died, yet he went to heaven and reclined in the bosom of father Abraham.

We could make a good case of social justice out of this text, showing the need to help others less fortunate than ourselves. We should certainly live that way. Jesus teaches you to love your neighbor as yourself. But that’s not the main point of what Jesus has to teach you today.

What sent the rich man to hell? Was it the way he lived his life, namely for self alone? Yes! What sent Lazarus to heaven? Was it the way he lived his life? No! Lazarus was much more than poor in a material sense. He was poor in heart. Ha had nothing to offer God. What we pray in today’s collect, Lazarus also prayed: “through the weakness of our mortal nature we can do no good thing.”

Lazarus heard the word of Moses and the Prophets. The rich man did not. The Word of Moses and the Prophets convicts of sin. It bears the mirror of God’s Law. But it also bears the Good News of salvation through the One who was rich in heavenly things, rich in glory, but who willingly gave it all up for your sins and the sins of the world.

Lazarus received the Gospel of Christ. Even though he hungered, he was filled with far more than food for the body. Despite the many needs he had, his greatest need was filled in Christ. As St. John says in Revelation: “He who has ears, let him hear.” In the name of Jesus. Amen.

“O God, the strength of all who put their trust in You, mercifully accept our prayers; and because through the weakness of our mortal nature we can do no good thing, grant us the help of Your grace that in keeping Your commandments we may please You both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” (Collect for First Sunday in SEASON)