In today’s Mass both the first reading and the Gospel presents us with good men and bad men.
Who are the good men? The good man in the first reading are those who put their hope in the Lord, while the good men in the Gospel are represented by the long-suffering Lazarus.
Who are the bad men? The bad men in the first reading are those who put their trust in the flesh, while the bad men in the Gospel are the rich who feast with no thought for poor people living on scraps.
The Scriptures compare all such good men to trees planted by living water, while it compares all such bad men to trees planted in a barren waste.
Once, with these readings coming up, and wanting to illustrate the message, I stopped by the nursery on Herschel. I asked the young attendant for one little tree from next to living water, and one little tree from a barren waste. The young man said, “I better get the boss to help you.”
The lesson isn’t obtuse. If you trust in the Lord you feel like that happy little tree; if you trust in the flesh, you feel like that barren bush that is just clinging to life in a desert waste.