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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

The Poor Man Lazarus (Modernism Part 44)

Updated: Apr 8, 2022

Today’s readings: Jeremiah 17:5-10 Psalm 1:1-6 Luke 16:19-31

Once again in the scriptures, we are given a good definition of Modernism. “Thus says the Lord: Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.” (Jer 17:5). The modernist is one who just looks to the well-being of man, who relies just on human strength and solutions to ills, and in the process who turns away from the Lord, neglecting the very righteousness of God.

It is a question of where we put our trust, to whom we rely on for our well-being. In man or on the Lord? What we decide has grave consequences on our lives.

  • The one who trusts in man is cursed, while the one who trusts in God is blessed. “Blessed are those who trust in the Lord; the Lord will be their trust.” (Jer 17:7).

  • The one who trusts in man “is like a barren bush in the wasteland” (Jer 17:6a), while those who trust in God “are like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream” (Jer 17:8a).

  • Those who trust in man “are the wicked …. (who) are like chaff driven by the wind.” (Ps 1:4), while the one who trusts in God and “does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the company with scoffers …. is like a tree planted near streams of water” (Ps 1:1,3a).

One is cursed while the other is blessed. The choice ought to be clear enough for us. But for many, it is not. And with modernist pastors and teachers, all the more people are confused and end up making the wrong choices.

One modernist teaching today is that there is no hell, or if there is hell, that there is no one in it. But Jesus and the Bible clearly teach us that there is a hell, and the wicked go there to eternal punishment. We see this in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man died and was in “the netherworld, where he was in torment” (Lk 16:23a). He himself said to Abraham, “I am suffering torment in these flames.” (Lk 16:24b).

The rich man asked Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his five living brothers so that they might not suffer the same fate. Abraham said they have Moses and the prophets to listen to. The rich man insisted, “if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.” (Lk 16:30). Abraham said, “if they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.” (Lk 16:31).

Indeed. Jesus himself rose from the dead and proclaimed the way of salvation. His teachings are clear. It is just a question of whether one follows him or not. For one to be blessed, “the law of the Lord is his joy; and on his law, he meditates day and night.” (Ps 1:2). Unfortunately, man is prone to sin and often does not listen. “More tortuous than anything is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it?” (Jer 17:9). This is why man needs conversion, and man needs formation. And this is why the sin of modernist teachers is great. They not only neglect to teach the authentic way of Christ, but they even overturn his and the Church’s age-old teachings and make what is bad good.

So follow the way of the Lord, and reject the wicked teachings of modernists. “Because the Lord knows the way of the just, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.” (Ps 1:6).

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