The Rich Man And Lazarus – A Commentary
By Thomas Stidl
Recently we heard the Gospel of the Rich Man and Lazarus. All of us heard the preaching about being caring to our poor, hungry brothers and sisters. We must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, etc. This is rightly so. These acts and about four more are mentioned in the corporal works of mercy. This is a very suitable preaching for this gospel reading. As the story goes, Lazarus went in Hebrew terms to Abraham’s bosom while the rich man went down to the nether world. Now let’s take a look at the last line of that reading.
“If they will not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.” The ‘they’ in this reading refers to the rich man’s family.
Who rose from the dead? Why, of course, Jesus did. Did the Jewish leaders believe that Jesus rose from the dead in his time? Do the Jewish leaders in our time believe that Jesus rose from the dead? No. The Jewish leaders in Jesus’ time refused to believe the account of the Roman guards and even bribed them to keep silent about the matter or worse yet, lie about the situation. When this Gospel was preached over my near seventy years of life, I have never heard any cleric give a homily on this situation.
Was Jesus revealing his upcoming passion, death and resurrection during this parable to the religious leaders of his day? The answer my friend is yes. The religious leaders of his day would not admit that they made a mistake. They chose instead to keep the political status quo. They did not want to lose face with the people. Imagine for a moment if they would have done the opposite and accepted the fact that they killed the Savior of the World. Would He have forgiven them? Absolutely, Yes. How do I know this? He forgave Peter, didn’t He? But alas, this did not happen. You, dear reader, know the rest of the story.
Until next time, Laus Tibi, Christe. Deo Gratias. Praise be to God. See you in Paradise.