Jer 17:5-10 / Lk 16:19-31
An older couple were driving along when they passed a very young couple who were snuggled closely as they drove along. The older woman said to her husband, “Remember when we used to sit close like that. I wonder what happened.” Her husband replied, “I didn’t move.”
In today’s gospel, the rich man finds himself isolated and alone on the other side of a great abyss where no one can reach him and no one can bring even so much as a cup of water. Meanwhile, far away on the other side is the poor beggar named Lazarus, whom the rich man scorned during his life, and who now is resting snugly in the bosom of Abraham.
Where did that abyss come from, and how did that rich man happen to be so completely cut off from where he wanted to be and ought to be? The answer is both sad and a dire warning to us all: God didn’t do it. The rich man dug that abyss a shovelful at a time, across a whole lifetime. Turned inward upon himself and consumed by his own needs and desires, he lost all thought or connection to anyone outside himself. His lonely, self-created eternity was simply an extension of his earthly life, and no one had to intervene to condemn him to it.
What kind of eternity are you building for yourself? Is it full of people who have known your faithful and generous love and who love you in return? Or is it, perhaps, filled with the groaning of people you’ve hurt, or ignored, or simply cut out of your life? At this very moment, you are building the house that you will live in forever. Make sure you’re building wisely and well.