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 Lazars 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 bet 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.’” [Luke 16:19-31]
If we contemplate about the two characters -- they have a big disparity when it comes to comfort and joy of life while living in this world? Lazarus was a poor man while the other is wealthy. Lazarus eats the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table.
Have you ever ask yourselves if suddenly, given the gift of money, what would you do with it? Will you invest it? Share it? Spend it? Not let anyone know about it?
Whom do you feel most sorry for? Lazarus in the beginning of the story? The rich man in the middle of the story? The rich man’s brothers in the end of the story?
Let’s extrapolate the issues: It is a human behavior to be sympathetic with Lazarus because of his social strata in the society. Hardship and trials are part of life while living in this world. All of us are passing through, and the comfort and luxury of life that we are looking for is not of this world. Our goal is heaven which is the ultimate mission? All of us are aspiring to reach heaven.
On the part of the haves, we have to look the background: Does he has a strong relationship with God? If not, we may not see the “golden rule” as part of his value.
It appears that the rich man had repented, and in order to avoid the same mistakes that he had made, he wanted to warn his five brothers. Again, accepting our transgressions are part of our strength that we are willing give up our wrong doing to God to manifest our love.
Is it a sin to be rich? Not really. It is the way we steward that wealth that make us a sinner? Perhaps, if the rich man helps Lazarus probably we could see both of them carried by the angels? However, the story does not end this way. Maybe out of selfishness the rich man unable to reach out with Lazarus.
What do you think caused the rich man to be condemned? Of his great wealth? Of his luxurious self-indulgence? Of his oppression of the poor? Of his hardness of heart toward God? Of his apathy toward people’s needs? Of his lack of faith? Of his refusal to listen and submit to Scripture?
What if, he did not accept the teaching of Jesus? What would be the repercussion of this story? We may see a different ending? What if, he accepts the teaching of Jesus in the beginning of the story? Maybe we may not see the challenges of life ahead of us?
These are the questions that we contemplate and meditate where we could see our inner self?