Awhile back, the angels asked me to dedicate Sundays to the Gospels, with love and gratitude, here is the Gospel of 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.’
‘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.’”
Here, we are told it is possible to run out of time and there is no reversing that time or fate. God never tires of forgiving us; you can stake your life on that. What is sometimes overlooked is the need to ask God for forgiveness and accept God’s Mercy.
Jesus’ parable presents a rich man even more hardened in self-centeredness after death as he was life. He knows the right language, calling out to “Father Abraham” and asks for pity- however expresses no remorse and is just as eager to use Lazarus in the “netherworld” as he was in life. For him others exist to be at his service. When his request for relief isn’t honored, he again asks to use Lazarus, this time as a messenger to warn his brothers. Abraham understands these brother’s share the rich man’s DNA and would no more respond to Lazarus from the dead than did the rich man himself when Lazarus daily begged at his doorstep. [see reference]
God loves Mercy and Compassion. We glorify God when we use these spiritual gifts to serve others in need.
In Jesus’ Name
Workbook for Lectors Gospel Readers and Proclaimers of the Word.