Scripture readings for March 20

At first glance, today’s Gospel can be a little confusing. In it, Jesus tells the story of the poor man who was welcomed into heaven, to the bosom of Abraham!, while the rich man was sent to the netherworld.

For years, I thought this story was saying that having money and the things of this world were inherently wrong. Is Jesus calling me to be a pauper? That certainly seemed like what the Gospel said.

But the reality of the story, with a little further digging, is that money itself isn’t bad, but putting our faith and worth in the things of the world is. We are stewards of the money God lends us, whether that’s a little or a lot.

in-God-we-trustAs the first reading explains, “cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh.”

What the scripture readings remind us today is not that money is bad, but we need to be mindful where we place our worth. Abraham himself was a wealthy man, and it is he who welcomes the poor man into heaven. It’s not the money that’s the issue; it’s the attitude.

We are called to live in this world, to have jobs and make money, to contribute to society and help those around us. But what we cannot do, as people who follow Jesus, is let our self-worth and identity be wrapped up in anything other than Christ. The car we drive, the house we live in, the clothes we wear — none of those things should define who each one of us is. Our worth comes from the Lord, our hope is in Him.

The message of today’s readings once again goes back to the heart of the Gospel — to love others, and to do what Jesus asks of us. If God has us in a good place financially, praise Him! If we are struggling, praise Him just the same!

Because when we keep our eyes where they should be — on God, his love for us and his will for us — only then will we find the peace and joy that no earthly posession can bring.