Gospel – March 12, 2020 – 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.’”
Today’s Gospel is a very well known parable by Jesus. He is teaching the Pharisees (are they hearing?) of how we should be living our lives.
Lazarus (the people Jesus is tending) is lying outside the gate of a rich man (Pharisees) covered in sores (living in poverty) and hungry (waiting on the Pharisees to do their job sharing the teachings in scripture). And Lazarus goes hungry and is only cared for by dogs (people of his equal station).
The rich man dines on sumptuous meals with food falling to the floor to be eaten by dogs. But he pays no attention to the man outside his gate. But God pays attention.
When Lazarus passes, he is resting in the arms of Abraham, the father of the Jewish religion. He is being comforted after a very hard life.
The rich man, who had a very easy life, dies and is sent to Gehenna. He is in misery there, just asking for a small taste of water from the man who he ignored outside his gate.
But Lazarus doesn’t answer him. It is Abraham who reminds him of how the stations are now reversed. Lazarus is living in luxury and the rich man in misery.
While Jesus was talking to the Pharisees in this parable, the author of Luke, the apostle to the Gentiles (us) is talking to non Jews. Interestingly, this parable is only found in the Gospel of Luke.
We, or many of us, do live a life of excess. Do we care about the sick and poor? Even if they’re right under our noses? Do we share our time, talent and treasure with those less fortunate?
I don’t know what you may be “rich” in but I do know we all have God given gifts we should be sharing along with our treasure to help make “Lazarus'” life easier and more livable.
If not, those roles may be reversed on us.
We don’t get do overs.
At least that’s what I heard Him say…