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The parable of the rich man and Lazarus

Published

REFLECTION

Luke 16:19-31

 

Jesus said to the Pharisees: “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’ Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.  Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’ 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.’ But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’ He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 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.’”

 

Reflection

My child, remember. The parable presents two persons of different social status: a rich man and a poor man. The rich man is not named, but the poor man has a name: Lazarus. A name gives a person identity and dignity. To be unnamed is to be unknown. Although he is wealthy, the rich man is not acknowledged. After his death, he is in the netherworld. Lazarus, on the other hand, is in the bosom of Abraham, a “seat of honor.”

There is a reversal of status after their earthly sojourn: while the poor man Lazarus who fed himself with the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table is carried by angels to the bosom of Abraham, the rich man who was well-dressed and dined sumptuously each day is now suffering torment in flames.

The parable reminds us to care for the poor and the needy. Our earthly life is transitory; what we do here will determine our life after death.

 

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2016,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.

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