Luke 16:19-31 (NRSV)
Verse 19"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. Verse 20And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, Verse 21who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man's table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. Verse 22The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. Verse 23In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. Verse 24He called out, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.' Verse 25But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Verse 26Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.' Verse 27He said, 'Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father's house- Verse 28for I have five brothers-that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.' Verse 29Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.' Verse 30He said, 'No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' Verse 31He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"
This has been a challenging week for our pocketbooks! In today's reading, Jesus addresses the Pharisees, "lovers of money" (v. 14). We are meant to notice how in life, the nameless rich man ignores the poor beggar, Lazarus, lying at his gate. In their deaths comes a great reversal: Lazarus is taken to heaven, while the rich man suffers in Hades.
The parable is clear that it is not wealth that kept the rich man out of heaven, but his lack of faith and compassion. When we see ourselves in those to whom Jesus tells this parable, we are also called to hear the promise at the end: a call to repentance in response to the promise of One resurrected from the dead. Baptized into Christ, we are called to tell that "old, old story of Jesus and his love"; called to walk as children filled with hope, justice, and care for the neighbor among us.
Eternal Master, let us walk with you and talk with you, for you have called us to be your own. Help us see the person lost and in need by the side of our travels. Enable us to hear your truth and practice your justice. Amen.