Deacon Steven M. Johnson – St. James, Belvidere, IL
Homily for 2nd Week Lent, Thursday, 3-4-21, Year B
Optional Memorial of St. Casimir – Born 1458. Son of the King of Poland. Champion of Chastity and the poor. Died 1484.
READINGS: 1st Reading 1st Jer, 17:5-10; Gospel Lk 16:19-31
We have all experienced regret for something we should have done but did not. Like that time when you were shopping, looking for that perfect item. You come across the exact thing you are looking for at a store, but it is not on sale. You know that one other store has it, too, and you want to go check it out there first to see if it is on sale before you purchase this one. You head over to the other store only to find the item is not on sale, costs more and is not in the color you want. So, you frantically drive back to the first store to buy the one you previously looked at. You get to the shelf where it had been only to find that it is gone and there are no more available. You instantly regret that you did not trust your instincts to just buy the original one you looked at when it was available.
There are many such things we can look back on and think, “If only I would have done this or that, things would be better.” One of the things we do not want to feel regret about is our spiritual life and friendship with God. We can feel this kind of regret when we do not follow Jesus’s teaching, or live a good life as an example for others or help out where we can with our time and money.
Our readings today talk about putting our trust in God and avoiding this regret. If we trust our life to the promises of other people, money and material things and think, “If I can only get enough of these things, I will be well off,” we will soon find that the only promises these things offer us is emptiness and regret.
The rich man knew regret well after his death but, by then it was too late. When we pass from this life to the next, there is no time to make amends or correct the things we now regret. The difference between us and the rich man is that we are still alive. We have the opportunity to examine our lives and look for those areas in them that need changing. We can ask Jesus to dip his finger in faith, hope, and love and touch our tongues so we can be healed of our selfishness and begin to help others.
But we must not delay in making these changes and put them off to sometime down the road. We all know the old saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” We must act now and make these changes in our lives and help others to make the same changes in their lives.
St. Paul writes in Philippians 2:12-16:
“Work with anxious concern to achieve your salvation. It is God who, in his good will toward you, begets in you any measure of desire or achievement. In everything you do, act without grumbling or arguing; prove yourselves innocent and straight forward, children of God beyond reproach in the midst of a twisted and depraved generation – among whom you shine like the stars in the sky while holding fast to the word of life.”
The rich man could have benefited from knowing this reading from The Letter of James where he writes:
“If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and no food for the day, and you say to them, “good-bye and good luck! Keep warm and well fed,” but do not meet their bodily needs, what good is that? So it is with the faith that does nothing in practice. It is thoroughly lifeless.”
We have the chance to correct our “rich man ways” by the mere fact that we are still alive. Take the time now to examine your life and find if there are any “rich man ways” you may need to change then pray to God for the strength and conviction to do it and do it soon. If you do, you might just find yourself at the end of your life in the arms of Love (Jesus) instead of those of regret (Lucifer).