The parable of the rich man and Lazarus

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.’ ”


LYING AT HIS DOOR WAS A POOR MAN. What stands out in the Gospel is the utter indifference of the rich man towards the poor Lazarus. Every day, he must see Lazarus by the gate, and it will cost him very little to give the poor man something to eat. But apparently the rich man does not. Ironically, Lazarus, who has nothing except a body full of sores, is “feeding” the dogs that are licking his sores. The story is given fast forward, and we find the two protagonists in their final destiny: the rich man in a place of torment while Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham. Realizing his sorry state, the rich man makes a request on behalf of his brothers, but God says no amount of warning will convince them.

Every day, we encounter many needy people especially in the streets. At times we are moved by their condition. But after a while we can get used to the scene and become indifferent. The Gospel invites us to stay attentive to those in dire need, to share our blessings with them—before it is too late.

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2018,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: