The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

Published September 29, 2019, 12:41 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

LUKE 16:19-31

reflectionstodayJesus 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.’ ”

The rich man and Lazarus

The problem with the rich man—traditionally called Dives, Latin for “rich”—is not that he is rich, or that he has acquired his wealth by dishonest means, or that he is rude and cruel towards Lazarus. He is condemned because he chose to ignore Lazarus. He knew of Lazarus’ existence since, finding himself in a place of torment, he recognizes him and calls him by name.

Dives was perfectly aware of Lazarus’ miserable condition. Every day from the front terrace of his great mansion, he could spot him at his gate. But Dives did not care. He had his fine clothes and his daily sumptuous banquets. These occupied all his attention.

For the rich man who did not care for his brother, the complete reversal of fate in the afterlife is now upon him. For those who showed no concern, do you think God will care?

Do we look down on some people because they are manual workers, uneducated or illiterate, ugly or unpopular? Some people never smile or speak kind words to janitors, tricycle drivers, waiters, or beggars.

On the last day, when divine justice is given, the Lord will say, “Whatever you did to the least of my brothers, you did to me. Since you recognized me in your brothers, welcome to paradise.” Or the Lord may say, “Sorry, since you did not know your brothers in need, I don’t know you.”

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2019,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: