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. (Luke 16:25)
Today, Jesus tells the parable of a rich man who had it all. He ignored Lazarus who sat on his doorstep, poor and hungry with dogs licking his sores. And after they both died, Lazarus is comforted in the bosom of Abraham and the rich man is tormented, both separated by a great chasm to prevent anyone from crossing over.
I could just let this passage slip by. I, by the world’s standards, am not a rich man. I might even consider myself closer to Lazarus than to the rich man. But as with most scripture passages, I think it has many layers to contemplate. Spiritually, I think I am very rich. I have been given so many graces, too numerous to count, and I wonder how many graces I am given that I waste each day.
Maybe a smile for someone who is down, a handshake, pat on the back, a kind word or generosity in sharing what I have. Like the rich man, I can often be so much into me that you might think that you do not matter to me. My heart knows you matter to me but I may be ignoring the grace given to show my love and care for you. That is what I hear in this passage.
The rich man pleads with Abraham to send someone from the dead to warn his five brothers so they will repent. Abraham says, “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.” Quickly off the top of my head comes to mind someone I know who rose from the dead! It would be good for all of us to “listen to Him” as our Heavenly Father has told us.
Jesus has told us how difficult it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I think he is referring to much more than material wealth. We are all rich in many ways and called to share our gifts to build God’s Kingdom for his glory. My hope and my prayer is that each of us do the best we can do.