Thursday, March 05, 2015

Bear Fruit

By Beth DeCristofaro

Thus says the LORD:  Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the LORD.  He is like a barren bush in the desert that enjoys no change of season, but stands in a lava waste, a salt and empty earth.  Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream:  It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; in the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit. (Jeremiah 17:5-8)

He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’ …  Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’” (Luke 16: 27-28, 31)

O Lord, Help me that I, with your Church, not neglect the service of charity any more than I neglect the sacraments and the Word. (From Pope Benedict as quoted in “Lent 2015: A Scriptural Way of the Cross”)[i]  

The incredibly vivid images of a barren bush in a lava waste adds a new perspective to the person of the rich man, covetously arrayed in purple and gold.  His culture would have seen him as successful, powerful.  God sees him as desolate, spiritually infertile and, in fact, destructive of life as a lava flow would be in a garden.  The Lord did not have to enact any curse.  The rich man chose his curse when he opted for greed, status and considered himself superior to Lazarus.

It’s not hard to find such a lava waste as we read the news.  Individuals who not only refuse table scraps to others but keep them from prohibitively expensive health care or restrict boundaries because those people were not born on the correct side of them.  Or persons who persecute people with darker complexions or a different religion, speak another language, smell differently.  During this season of Lent can we honestly say where we are rooted – on a barren plain or beside living waters?

Pray the Scriptural Way of the Cross (link below).  Walk with Christ on his way to the Cross.  In what way am I burdening others with a cross?  In what ways do I relieve others, carrying their cross with them?

[i]    Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible   may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner. Illustrations were created by young artists as part of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development Multimedia Youth Contest

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